In a village in the Mahabubabad area of Telangana, justice, apparently, is for sale.
A man who allegedly raped a minor girl repeatedly, for four months, has been let off by the community Panchayat in the village for a price of Rs 35,000. The case came to light on Friday, after unknown persons in the village took the matter to the police anonymously.
According to the police, 14-year-old Sravya*(name changed) has psycho-social disabilities, and is kept confined in her house by her mother, who is a daily wage labourer. Sravya’s father passed away a few years ago.
Because of her disability, Sravya’s education was discontinued after Class 5.
Knowing that she stayed alone at home in the day, her neighbour, Rajeev*, an agricultural labourer, allegedly raped her several times over the last four months.
Earlier this week, Sravya brought the matter up with her mother, who then took the case to the elders in the village. She wanted justice, but apparently, the community panchayat was in no mood for it.
While the community panchayat found Rajeev guilty, they decided to let him off with a ‘fine’ of Rs 35,000, because they did not want to spoil his life. Rajeev is married and has a young child, and the village elders decided that the money would go towards ‘helping the fatherless girl’ Sravya - and hushing the matter up.
However, the case reached the police, who have now reached out to the survivor.
Mahabubabad Rural SI, P Jitender told TNM, “We have filed a case under section 376 of IPC and under the POCSO Act. We have started investigating, and soon we will arrest him."
The SI added, “We have also filed a case under section 201 of IPC against the community people who tried to hush the matter up by holding a panchayat and levying a ‘fine’ on the accused, with the intention of getting away in the court of law.”
“As of now, we have not arrested any one. We are examining some names in this regard, and we will get a clearer picture on Monday," he added.
*Names changed to protect identity.