India village council accused of ordering rape

NEW DELHI — A 14-year-old girl was dragged into a forest and raped on the orders of a village council in remote eastern India in retaliation for a sex assault blamed on her brother, her family and police said Friday.

Jitendra Singh, a top local police official, said three men have been arrested. They include the village headman and the main suspect, identified as the husband of the woman who was allegedly molested by the victim’s brother. The victim’s brother has also been arrested.

The victim’s mother told CNN-IBN news channel that she pleaded with the council and other villagers when they ordered the rape but no one listened.

“We kept begging them. We begged with folded hands but they would not listen. They dragged her away to the forest,” she said.

The attack took place after midnight on Sunday in a small village in Jharkhand state’s Bokaro district.

“They attacked her in retaliation and we are taking this case very seriously,” Singh said, adding that police expect to complete the investigation and file charges in the next few days.

Across much of rural India, deeply conservative local councils wield great power. They can pass decrees on any subject they choose — from how women should dress to whether young lovers deserve to live or die. They usually enforce strict social norms about marriage and gender roles.

In January, a council of elders in West Bengal state had ordered the gang rape of a 20-year-old woman as punishment for falling in love with the man from a different community.

The village councils are often the only practical means of delivering justice in areas where local governments are either too far away or too ineffective to settle disputes. Their power is often derived from the fact that they can order that villagers be ostracized for ignoring their decrees.

In some of the most extreme cases, the councils have sanctioned so-called honor killings, usually against men and women suspected of out-of-wedlock sex or marrying outside the community.

More in Local News

Minutes mattered the day Pat Ward was brought back to life

The Mukilteo police and fire chaplain died at breakfast. She got a second chance thanks to a waitress.

Cool additions at an elementary school in Everett

A totem pole and new gardens grace the courtyard of Whittier Elementary School.

Kids suspected in school’s smashed windows and other damage

The cost of the damage at Explorer Middle School in south Everett is estimated to be $5,000.

Recall issued for about 1,250 pounds of meat

Camano Island’s Sausage Haus products might be contaminated.

3 women seek open seat in 39th District

The GOP nominees hope to fill the opening created by the resignation of Republican John Koster.

Lake Stevens High senior has an entrepreneurial mind

John Cramer crafts and sells designer pens to help pay for college

Marysville-Arlington fiber-optic link planned by Comcast

The high-speed internet line, to be ready next year, is seen as a boost for business development.

Cellphone carrier substation in Snohomish vandalized

Detectives with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office are investigating a… Continue reading

Driver flees deputy in Everett, then crashes, injuring 2

The suspect fled on foot but was tracked down and captured nearby. He was treated for injuries.

Most Read