A 16-year-old girl, who gave birth to a child, after allegedly being raped by two men including a Muslim cleric for several months, approached the panchayat (a local elected body at the village, comprising prominent elders of the locality) in a bid for justice.
However, instead of helping the girl or seeking justice on her behalf, members of the body told her to sell the child and keep the money as compensation.
According to a Bihar police official linked to the case, the victim who hails from a village in Muzaffarpur, approached them a few days ago, alleging that a Muslim cleric that resided in the village mosque, raped her in an unconscious state and recorded the act.
“After the incident, the cleric kept raping her over two months and threatened her with consequences if she revealed the incidents to anyone. During this time she became pregnant, which she revealed to a young man from the village. He then raped her on the pretext of marriage but didn’t marry her,” a police official investigating the case said in a statement on Tuesday.
In her complaint, she also said that she had visited her maternal uncle's house, and when the family learned about her pregnancy, she told them about her ordeal.
“The family members approached the panchayat seeking justice, but to their plight -they couldn’t find justice. Last month, she gave birth to a child, but the panchayat labelled the incident a misfortune and ordered the victim to sell the child and keep the money as compensation,” the officer added.
The family finally approached a local police station and registered a case.
“Several teams have been formed to arrest the absconding accused. We are checking on the claims made by the victim and the verdict of the panchayat. A DNA test is also being conducted to identify the biological father of the newborn,” the officer added.