Taking cognisance of the issue, the Alirajpur police on Thursday registered a case against the four persons and arrested one. “We’ve booked four men identified to be involved in the incident under Sections 341, 342, 323 and 34 of the IPC and one of the accused has been arrested,” said Alirajpur superintendent of police, Vipul Srivastava.
Alirajpur is a tribal-dominated district with 75 % tribal population is one of the most backward districts of the country, according to the various government and media reports. Situated in Western Madhya Pradesh, Alirajpur is 410 km away from the state capital and share its borders with Gujarat.
The incident was reported on June 16 in Mind village under Ambua police station area of Alirajpur district. However, the matter came to light on Wednesday after a video and photos of the ‘kangaroo justice’ went viral on social media.
As per report, the kangaroo court raised its ugly head at Khud village when a village girl was spotted with a boy from the neighbouring Indersingh ki Chowki village. Annoyed over their relationship, the girl’s cousin, nephew and other villagers accosted the couple and tied them to separate poles meant for tying animals.
The alleged barbarity continued for around two hours, during which the couple was subjected to abuse, slapping, thrashing and flogging with wooden sticks. All this took place in full public glare with at least four men beating the duo and pulling the girl’s hair before villagers, who were reportedly smiling and filming the atrocities, instead of informing the police. The girl’s family and other residents of Kund village subsequently are said to have called the boy’s family seeking a compromise.
Subsequently, the tribal elders made the two families reach a compromise, with the boy’s family agreeing on paper to pay Rs 90,000 and provide two male goats as ‘love penalty’, to pave the passage for their wedlock. Half of the sum and one goat was to go to the girl’s family, as per reports.
With the girl and her family not willing to lodge a complaint in the matter, it was the Ambua police station officers who took cognisance and registered a case against the accused on Thursday.
The police also claimed to have recovered a paper on which the boy’s family agreed to pay its 90,000 and two goats to the tribal elders of Kund village as a ‘compromise’.
Past Wild Diktats
This is not the only case where a tribal panchayat has given such a diktat. On April 13, 2019, a patliya tribe woman was forced to parade around her village with her husband on her shoulders amid drumbeats and teasing sounds from villagers as punishment from her clan for allegedly eloping with a Bhil tribal man in Jhabua district.
On January 2015, a 25-year-old married woman was forced to breastfeed her lover (with whom she had eloped) on the diktat of a Bhil tribal panchayat in Alirajpur district.
In October 2013, 20 tribal men were arrested for allegedly stripping a married woman and her lover and forcing them to parade through the village amid drumbeats for allegedly eloping a few days earlier in Dhar district of West MP.
First published in Newsclick.