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Rape threat: These sisters need our support

Last updated on: September 03, 2015 16:23 IST
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Express your support for the two sisters from Baghpat, who are allegedly being threatened with rape, because their brother eloped with a woman from a higher caste.

We the people of India -- 1.25 billion of us -- seemed to have forgotten the Nirbhaya rape case.

Hardly three years later, not enough outrage is being heard over the alleged order issued by a village panchayat in Uttar Pradesh's Baghpat district to rape two sisters, paint their faces black and parade them naked through the village, to punish the family for the elopement of their brother with a married woman belonging to a higher caste.

The woman head of the panchayat has denied the existence of the order. But the family of the two girls has filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking protection for Meenakshi Kumari, 23, and her 15-year-old sister, who have fled Baghpat and sought refuge in Delhi.

Subsequently the girls and their family have retracted their allegation and say this threat was not issued by the panchayat. The local police, who were ordered by the Supreme Court to conduct an investigation, also deny the existence of such a threat. The fact remains though that the family has not withdrawn their petition from the Supreme Court, perhaps highlighting the insecurity they feel.

It is important to understand that even if the village panchayat did not issue this order, word had for some reason spread through the village that Meenakshi and her sister would be victims of heinous mob justice.

The girls' father heard about the threat from a fellow villager, who heard it from another, which illustrates that the threat was considered valid because a section of the Indian public still believes that raping or subjugating women is appropriate punishment for an act which had no connection with them as individuals.

Action by the Supreme Court and the media highlighting the issue has saved these sisters from harm, but we need to remember that there are countless Indian women who are vulnerable and likely victims of crude retribution.

Let us raise our voices against such crimes.

Meenakshi and her sister need our support. People need to know that India and Indians will not tolerate such threats or such views.

Please use the message board below to raise your voice.

Now!

Photograph: Anindito Mukherjee/Reuters

IMAGE: Meenakshi Kumari, 23, one of the two sisters allegedly threatened with rape by a village council in Uttar Pradesh, at her lawyer's chamber in New Delhi, September 1.

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