23-year-old Meenakshi Kumari and her 15-year-old sister were sentenced on July 30th by an all-male village council in India to be raped in retaliation for their brother’s crime of eloping with a married woman. They were also ordered to be paraded naked with blackened faces.
According to the sister, their brother Ravi and the woman from the Jat community were in love. However, they were forcefully separated after her family married her off to someone else in February. She later escaped from her in-laws’ home and eloped with Ravi on March 22nd.
Although Ravi and the woman surrendered after his family was tortured by the police and members of the Jat community, the Khap panchayat decided that the family should be dishonored to avenge the brother’s deed.
In May, the woman and her sister fled the Dalit village, along with their family, because they feared the consequences that they would have to face for their brother’s actions. Meenakshi asked the Supreme Court for protection and her father called on two national bodies to address the harassment his family has received from both the married woman’s family and local police.
Amnesty International has set out to gather 50,000 signatures for a petition to demand immediate intervention by local authorities. Over 44,900 signatures have been collected so far.