Teenage rape victim in Saptari took her own life after being forced into out-of-court settlementThe village elders had tried to hush up the matter and threatened the victim and her mother of consequences if they reported the incident with the police.
Abdhesh Kumar Jha
A teenager rape victim has taken her own life in Saptari after she was forced into an out-of-court settlement by the village elders.
The grievous crime was revealed after the 17-year-old girl was found dead at her home in Dakneshwori Municipality-7 on Tuesday morning. Police have since arrested three men for allegedly forcing the girl to not report the crime to the police and settle the case in the community. The four men who raped the girl are still at large.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Tilak Bharati said the girl had been brutally raped by the four men on Monday morning and she took her own life that same night because she and her mother were reportedly forced by the Panchayat, a form of village council, to “settle the matter” outside the court of law saying that if the incident became public it would bring shame upon the community.
“Jayakanta Mandal, Satya Narayan Mandal and Basudev Mandal, who were in the Panchayat meeting, have been arrested. The four men accused of rape—Dharma Mandal, Bishnu Mandal, Ranjit Mandal and Bablu Mandal—are at large,” Bharati said.
Ram Narayan Chaudhary, the ward chairman of Dakneshwori-7, said he did not know about the case until after the girl’s death.
“The girl died because the Panchayat decided to hush up the matter before it reached the police. The Panchayat directed the girl and her mother to accept monetary compensation from the perpetrators. This is a heinous crime,” Chaudhary said.
The girl had returned home in a semi-conscious state and when her mother sought the help of her neighbours, none came forward, a local man said on condition of anonymity.
“At noon, eight to ten panchas (council heads) met the girl and her mother. They threatened them of consequences if they went to the District Police Office to file a complaint against the four men,” he said.
Chaudhary, the ward chairman, said: “The Panchayat tried to sort the matter in the village by making the perpetrators pay hush-up money of Rs 50,000 to Rs 55,000.”
According to the police, the men in the Panchayat will be charged with abetting suicide and destroying the evidence.
The body of the deceased was sent to a Dharan-based hospital for post mortem on Wednesday.
“The girl and her mother lived alone working on a farm. Police should take strong action against the perpetrators and deliver justice to the girl and her mother,” Chaudhary said.