Sisters to be raped for brother's elopement

International human rights organisation petitions to have local Indian village council judgment overturned

They are sentenced to be raped and paraded naked through the streets.

Their crime - one of their brothers had eloped with a married woman.

The two sisters in India are the latest known victims of horrifying archaic punishments in rural India.

The sisters - identified as 23-year-old Meenakshi Kumari and her 15-year-old sister - received their sentence from an all-male village council in the Uttar Pradesh state, about 50km from the capital Delhi, reported The Telegraph.

DIFFERENT CASTES

Their family were reportedly from the Dalit caste, but their brother fell in love with a woman from the higher Jat caste. Their brother's love interest reportedly reciprocated his feelings, but she was forced into an arranged marriage in February with a man from her own caste.

The Romeo and Juliet couple eloped in March, but returned to the village after the man's family were allegedly tortured by police.

Their village council then ruled that their family had to be dishonoured as retribution for their brother's crime.

Ms Meenakshi and her sister fled their village after the council decision was announced, and have tried to petition for protection in Delhi.

Human-rights organisation Amnesty International has put up a separate petition calling for Indian authorities to step in and prevent the council-sanctioned rape, reported Time.

According to the organisation, Mr Sumit Kumar, another brother of the sisters, said that members of the Jat caste were powerful members of the village council, and that their decision was final.

He also worried about the safety of the Jat woman, who is now thought to be pregnant with Ms Meenakshi's brother's child.

These village councils act like local courts, often ordering honour killings and sexual punishments.

They are often allowed to operate outside the Indian legal system.

According to the Amnesty International site, more than 120,000 people have signed the petition, which urged people to "act now to demand that this disgusting ruling is not allowed to happen".

"Rape is a revolting crime, not a punishment," an Amnesty UK representative told The Telegraph.


This article was first published on August 31, 2015.
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