5 smacks with shoe, Panchayat lets rape accused go

The khap (caste) panchayat of Sualana village in Ghaziabad on Saturday asked a rape victim to not register a complaint with the police. The panchayat, headed by Kuldeep Singh, instead decided to punish the accused by hitting him with a shoe five times, the police said.

The victim, 17, had approached the panchayat alleging rape by her uncle, Narendra Singh.

The police said she was alone at home around 1 pm on Saturday when she was raped.

According to the police, the victim and the accused belong to the Thakur community; panchayat chief Kuldeep Singh also comes from the same community. The police claim this led Singh to ask the victim not to make a police complaint since it would defame the community.

The police said the victim's father works as a labourer at the Dadri power plant project.

Senior Superintendent of Police (Ghaziabad) Raghubir Lal said, "The victim was alone at home when her uncle raped her." According to the police, the girl told her mother about the incident when she returned home, and her mother then approached the panchayat, which asked them not to register a case, SP (Rural) Captain M M Baig said.

"The panchayat passed an order to beat the accused five times with a shoe," SSP Lal said. "There were 24 other persons present in the panchayat, we have learnt."

Lal said the victim later filed a complaint, alleging that her uncle raped her a medical examination at MMJ District Hospital confirmed rape.

SP Baig said an FIR has been lodged against the accused and the medical report is yet to come.

The police said Kuldeep Singh is being questioned. "We will take action against those who were part of the panchayat. A detailed investigation in the incident has been ordered," SSP Lal said.

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