This Article is From Mar 05, 2011

For rape, she was offered Rs 2100

Allahabad: In the fields of Sarai Sultan, a small village near Allahabad, a woman in her early forties, holds up her fingers, indicating 12.

At noon, she was at work as a farm hand, when the man who lives next door to her allegedly attacked her and raped her.

She couldn't have cried for help. She cannot speak, she is hearing impaired. Her husband was working nearby, but he too cannot speak or hear.  

It was another village who discovered her, lying battered in millet fields.

The man who raped her confessed to the village panchayat. The council's decision: that he should pay her Rs 2100 as compensation.

The head of the panchayat, Lal Man Pasi, says he consulted with many residents of the area who agreed that the punishment was just.

The outraged couple asked for their families' support - and then took their case to the police. "We don't want money....will that help restore our dignity?" asks the victim's brother-in-law.

"We have registered a case and are looking for the panchayat members and the accused... we think it is a case of attempt to rape. But during the investigations, if the rape allegation is found to be true, then we will act accordingly," says J P Pandey, a senior policeman handling the case.

Medical tests are likely to be conducted to establish if it was a case of rape. Meanwhile, the four panchayat members along with the accused have gone missing.