Take money and abort, Bihar panchayat tells raped girl, booked

Patna : A case has been lodged against eight members of a panchayat, a village executive, in Bihar’s Kishanganj district for asking a girl, who was raped, to take Rs.50,000 and undergo an abortion, police said Monday.

“We have registered an FIR against eight people, who had attended the meeting of the village panchayat that ordered the rape victim, who is now pregnant, to take Rs.50,000 to undergo an abortion,” Bahadurganj police station chief Mahfooz Alam said.

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Alam said police have arrested two people, including the father of the main accused in the case.

“Both were sent to jail under judicial custody,” he said.

Alam said that police would soon arrest all those named in the case. “We will not spare any one,” he added.

Last week, a police official of an all-woman police station in Kishanganj, about 400 km from here, said the girl along with her mother informed her that four brothers belonging to her village raped her seven months back and now she was seven months pregnant.

“When she approached the village panchayat, seeking justice and punishment against the accused, the panchayat members ordered her to take Rs.50,000 and undergo an abortion. But she refused it,” officer-in-charge Shweta Gupta added.

It was the panchayat of village Packola Palashmani in Kishanganj district that gave the order.

The 16-year-old girl 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 wager in an agriculture field.

She said they were afraid to approach police after panchayat members threatened the girl.

The police official also said that nearly half a dozen similar cases have been reported to her in the last one month.

“After I joined duty here, five girls, mostly from the Muslim community, have filed similar complaints of having been raped and getting pregnant,” she said.

“I am stunned to learn that several girls were raped but failed to inform their parents. Such cases come to light only when they get pregnant a few months later,” she added.

Kishanganj is a Muslim dominated district as the community makes up for around 70 percent of the population. It is one of the most backward districts in the state with a high poverty rate and low levels of literacy.