The incident that occurred two days ago in Rajouri’s Bhudal area refreshed harsh memories of Panchayats in mainland India issuing absurd and humiliating judgments’, bypassing the rule of law.
Reports said that a youth identified as Fazal Hussain, hailing from Targain area, a remote hamlet in Rajouri, ended his life after jumping into lake, as he was allegedly accused of raping a girl living in his area. What came as a shock was the issuance of decree by the local Panchayat when the matter was brought to them for hearing.
The family of the girl had alleged that Fazal Hussain has raped their daughter. However, Fazal was repeatedly rejecting the allegation. The matter was later taken to the Panchayat and it was decided to resolve the matter after the exchange of some money.
Fazal in his recorded message, which he recorded before committing suicide, said that he was forced to drink the urine of the girl in presence of the Panchayat members, and it was decided to settle the issue by exchanging money.
“I refused to pay any money and pleaded that no rape has been committed on the girl. I also told them to go for Medical examination of the girl and initiate legal proceedings as per law. However, they pressurised me to drink urine of the girl in presence of Panchayat members, which was most humiliating for me. I asked for two day’s time in order to escape, and decided to commit suicide as I was being dragged in a false case which was humiliating for me and my family,” the youth said in the recorded message.
According to reports the dead body of the youth was recovered from Samsar Sar (a lake), on the higher reaches of Budhal in Pir Panjal, Monday. Some nomads living in the area saw a body floating on the lake. After retrieving the body the locals informed Budhal Police.
While giving details about the incident, Deputy Commissioner Rajouri, Dr. Shahid Iqbal Chodhary told ‘Kashmir Vision’ that “the body has been found after two days and the police have registered a case in this regard”.
He said that investigation is going on and we will get into all the details of the case.”
While commenting over the veracity of the recorded message in which the deceased youth has levelled serious allegations against Panchayat that he was forced to drink urine, he said “we are ascertaining the authenticity of the audio, once it is confirmed that the audio is authentic we will take appropriate action.”
The youth in his recorded message, that was addressed to his mother said that that he was innocent and had done nothing wrong, adding that he had also approached a local Imam to intervene, but he had refused categorically.
Pertinently, there are some other incidents where the Panchayat had issued such weird and absurd diktats usually occurred in mainland India, however, the infection seems to be spreading upwards.
Some absurd judgments’ issued by Panchayats:
Manoj and Babli honour killing
In the infamous Manoj and Babli honour killing, the two newlyweds were killed in June 2007. The killing was ordered by a Khap panchayat in their Karora Village in Kaithal district, Haryana. Both were given Police protection; however the policemen slipped away after leaving them at Peepli village. That is when Babli’s family members kidnapped them and killed the couple in cold blood. Their bodies were fished out of a canal where they were thrown after being wrapped in gunny bags.
Mamta Bai case
A woman named Mamta Bai from Rajasthan got served with an order to live with a man whose wife eloped with her husband by the Khap of Notara Bhopat village. She was asked to either pay a compensation of Rs 3 lakhs or live with Rajendra Meghwal. She also alleged that a large stone was lobbed at her home which lead to the arrest of Rajendra’s brother. All this in the name of justice in the year 2015.
Stripping and beating of a woman
In Kolar village, Sarda Tehsil of Udaipur, a married woman and a 28 – year old man with whom she had eloped got brutally punished by the villagers after forcibly making them return. Villagers tied them to trees and stripped the woman in full view and snipped her hair. After that, they relentlessly beat up the couple.
Ordering rape as revenge
In August, this year a Khap Panchayat in Meerut issued a diktat to the villagers to rape two Dalit sisters and parade them naked all around the village. Their only crime being the alleged elopement of their brother with a woman of the jat community. The panchayat threatened to go ahead with the verdict in case the couple didn’t return, which they did and soon after, the woman got married. However when the woman returned to UP they eloped again, now leaving the sisters afraid of facing the adverse judgement.