What the villagers say

Print edition : February 21, 2014

Initially the women of the village refused to speak to the media. Finally, after much persuasion, a group of them agreed to speak to Frontline. The group assembled at the courtyard of a hut, and many of those who spoke were related to the arrested men. The following is the substance of what they said:

"The girl had earlier eloped to Delhi with another man and returned around July 2013. Soon she got involved with a Muslim boy, and we told her that we would not stand for it in our village. She and her family insisted they were not doing anything wrong. Finally, we caught them in bed together that night in her house. The boys of the village dragged the Muslim boy out and the women dragged out the girl. We tied them up to a tree, where they stayed all night. The next morning, the shalishi sabha assembled; a member of the boy’s family had also come. We told them to leave the village together, but she did not agree to do so. The shalishi sabha fined the boy Rs.25,000, and upon payment he was released, and the girl was fined Rs.3,000, which her brother promised to pay later. Then everybody went home. The next day the girl was seen cycling out of the village. She was never raped. This is a conspiracy. She can always return to the village if she wants to, but we will not allow any Muslim to enter the village and have fun with any of our women. If one girl sets a precedent, others will think there is no harm in such things.”

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