A panchayat (village body) in Bihar has ordered a girl, who was raped by four brothers and is now seven months pregnant, to take Rs. 50,00 and undergo an abortion, police said on Thursday.
“The victim along with her mother informed me that four brothers of her village raped her seven months back and now she is seven months pregnant,” said police official Sweta Gupta over telephone from Kishanganj.
“When she approached the village panchayat, seeking justice and punishment against the accused, the panchayat members ordered her take Rs 50,000 to undergo an abortion. But she refused it,” Gupta added.
It was the panchayat of village Packola Palashmani in Kishanganj district that gave the order.
The 16-year-old victim is daughter of a migrant worker who works in Rajasthan to support the poor family of six. The victim’s mother works as a daily wage labourer in an agriculture field.
Gupta said an FIR has been lodged and a probe has begun. “We are trying to arrest the accused and take action against the panchayat member,” she said.
She said the victim was afraid to approach police after panchayat members threatened her.
The police official also said nearly half a dozen similar cases have been reported to her in last month.
“After I joined duty here, five girls, mostly from the Muslim community, have filed similar complaints of being raped and getting pregnant,” she said.
“I am stunned to know that several girls were raped but they failed to inform their parents. Such cases come to light only when they get pregnant few months later,” she said.
Kishanganj is a Muslim dominated district as the community makes up for around 70 per cent of the population. It is one of the most backward districts in the state with high poverty rate and low levels of literacy.