Haryana panchayat orders shoe-beating of gang-rape accused

Chandigarh: In a shocking incident, a panchayat (village council) in Haryana's Faridabad district "sentenced" two youths accused of gang-raping a minor girl in May to be beaten with shoes five times each and a fine of Rs.50,000.

Intervening in the case, the National Commission for the Scheduled Castes has now directed Haryana Police to register a case against the panchayat and arrest the sarpanch and other members.

The family of the girl, which met National Commission for the Scheduled Castes' vice chairman Raj Kumar Verka in New Delhi on Monday, alleged that police were not taking action on its complaint against the accused. Instead, the village council was forcing the kin to arrive at a compromise in the matter, they added.

Criticising the panchayat order, Verka has written letters to Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Haryana Director General of Police (DGP) on the matter, a spokesman for the commission said on Monday.

The girl had gone to a neighbour's house on May 1 to fetch water when she was assaulted, police sources said on Monday.

"Panchayats in Haryana have been passing orders as per their whims. This brings a bad name to the country. The erring sarpanch and panches should be arrested," Verka said.

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