Two days ago, a minor girl was mercilessly thrashed by a village elder even as almost the entire KP Doddi village looked on. This horrific assault took place in Gummagatta mandal of Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.
Pray what was the crime committed by the girl?
She had reportedly eloped with her cousin who is 20 years old. The two were brought back to the village, admonished and given a warning by the village elders against having an incestuous relationship.
In the video, one of the elders suddenly perks up and starts thrashing the girl. The boy is seated on the ground, with downcast eyes while the elder assaults the girl repeatedly using his hands first and then a stick. In between, he hits the boy as well.
What is surprising is that the police is waiting for a complaint to be lodged against the village elder, 70-year-old Boya Linganna. In the absence of the parents unwilling to complain, the police have not taken suo moto action based on the video evidence available.
“The parents said the village elder intervened on their behalf and therefore are not willing to lodge a police complaint,” B Yesubabu, SP of Anantapur district, told Filter Kaapi.
With the parents not cooperating, the police wants to check if the victim will file a complaint. The flip side however, is that if she admits to a physical relationship with her cousin, he would be booked under POCSO.
The police could alternately file a case under the Prevention of SC/ST Atrocities Act. But sources say there is apprehension of law and order trouble if Linganna, a member of the Boya community, is picked up.
Hyderabad-based child rights activist Achyuta Rao of Balala Hakkula Sangham has offered to file the complaint if that will help the police in pursuing the matter.
“I demand that a case of attempt to murder and cruelty against children under the Juvenile Justice Act should be booked. I am alerting the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights as well. These elders cannot behave like this, they should counsel the boy and the girl. It is shocking that so many people watched while a child was being beaten up like this,” says Achyuta Rao.