On March 22, Kachru, 20 and his cousin, 18, had fled to Gujarat to marry and escape the wrath of their families but were later traced and brought back to Shambhupura village of Banswara district.
Last week, a Khap Panchayat (village union), in the presence of family members of the boy and the girl, issued an order to strip them naked and beat them up in front of all the villagers to teach them a lesson.
The woman was even sexually assaulted and brutalised with a stick by the crowd. A video of the act was filmed by some locals and later circulated on social media.
“The boy had fled from the village with his cousin sister, a minor, in March. Instead of lodging a complaint after they went missing, their families began searching for them. After tracking them down, the villagers thrashed them publicly, before parading them naked throughout the village,” senior police official Ravindra Singh from Kalinjara police station informed the media.
According to sources in state police, several villagers had put pressure on the couple’s immediate family to teach them a lesson as they were in a relationship despite being cousins.
“We acted after one of the videos was spotted by us. No one from the village in the state’s Banswara district had complained; the couple were made to sign an undertaking by Khap Panchayat that they would not report the incident to the police,” Singh added.
The police have also registered a case against the people who thrashed and made a video of the couple.
“The couple had eloped to neighbouring Gujarat on March 22 because they are cousins and so their relationship was frowned upon by the tribal community they belong to. It was not acceptable to their society. For that society, cousins marrying each other is an immoral activity,” Senior Police Superintendent Anand Sharma told media.
The man was sent to the hospital to go through a medical examination late Wednesday night.
Interestingly, on April 18, the young woman was forced to marry a man from a nearby village. The girl’s family took money for the new alliance.
“We brought the boy to the police station and consoled him. He then told us about the sequence of events. The girl had been forcibly married off elsewhere and we recovered her from Limthaan village where she was being kept in confinement,” Sharma stated.
The girl is now under police protection with her mother by her side.
“The boy has been hospitalised in a critical condition while the girl is under our protection. The accused have been booked for rioting, wrongful restraint and confinement, wrongly causing hurt and sexual harassment,” Sharma added.
The couple will record their statements before the district magistrate next week