The human-rights organization Amnesty International is petitioning Indian authorities to save two sisters after an unofficial village council ordered them to be raped and publicly humiliated as punishment for their brother’s actions.
The petition has garnered nearly 30,000 signatures and calls for local law enforcement to stop the council-sanctioned rape of Meenakshi Kumari, 23, and her 15-year-old sister in Baghpat village in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, Time magazine reported.
The unelected council of elders ordered Kumari and her sister — both members of the low Dalit caste — to be raped and paraded naked with blackened faces, after their brother eloped with a married woman of a higher caste, Time reported.
“Nothing could justify this abhorrent punishment,” the petition states. “It’s not fair. It’s not right. And it’s against the law. Demand that the local authorities intervene immediately.”
Unelected village councils are widespread in rural parts of India.
“More often than not they are made up of older men from dominant castes, who prescribe rules for social behavior and interaction in villages,” the petition states. “The supreme court of India has described them as ‘kangaroo courts’ and branded their decrees illegal, yet in some states they continue to operate — and their punishments are carried out.”