Jaipur: A young man and a woman were mercilessly beaten and tortured and paraded naked in a Rajasthan village because they had eloped. The 20-year-old woman was sexually assaulted and brutalised with a stick. 18 people have been arrested, including fathers of the man and woman, after videos of the attack went viral.
The police said they acted after one of the videos was spotted by a senior officer Anand Sharma. No one from the village in the state's Banswara district had complained; the couple were made to sign an undertaking that they would not report the incident to the police.
Those arrested have been charged with attempt to murder, rape and illegal confinement. "We brought the boy to the police station and consoled him. He then told us about his ordeal. The girl had been forcibly married off elsewhere and we recovered her from a village called Limthaan where she was being kept in confinement," Mr Sharma said.
The couple had eloped to neighbouring Gujarat on March 22 because they are cousins and so their relationship was frowned upon by the tribal community they belong to. They were tracked down by villagers who brought them back and, earlier this week, assaulted and publicly humiliated them.
The 21-year-old man said first he and then both of them were beaten with sticks and rods. They were then paraded naked around the village to the beat of drums. People in the crowd shot videos on their mobile phones. The fathers of the man and woman couple were part of the crowd that assaulted the couple.
On April 17 the young woman was forced to marry a man from a nearby village under Natha cutom - the girl's family took Rs 80,000 for the new alliance. The groom and his family members have also been arrested.
The girl, who was rescued on April 18, is now in police protection with her mother by her side; the girl is being treated for injuries from the assault. The couple will record their statements before the magistrate tomorrow.