A Dalit couple was brutally beaten up by a village headman in Andhra Pradesh's Anantpur district, for allegedly trying to elope twice despite opposition from their families.
The incident came to light when a video of the incident went viral on social media on Friday. In the video, the couple can be seen sitting on the ground surrounded by villagers. The village chief Boya Lingappa is purportedly seen hitting the girl, first with his hands and then with a stick.
The girl, a minor, had reportedly tried to elope with her 20- year-old cousin on two occasions, since their families opposed the relationship between the "first cousins". The families said that they brought back the couple and then approached the village elder to "discipline" the couple in "whichever way possible". They refused to file a complaint against Lingappa.
“Their parents say the elderly man had done nothing wrong and the action was necessary to teach them (the couple) a lesson,” Sub-Inspector N Raghavendrappa told News18.
Anantpur district police chief B Yesubabu told NDTV no one was coming forward to lodge a complaint against the village elder, not even the parents.
According to the NDTV report, the police have sent a woman constable to check if the girl is willing to file a complaint. If she mentions that she had a physical relationship with the boy, he could be booked under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), the police said.
If no formal complaint is lodged, the police will file a case under Prevention of SC/ST Atrocities Act, the police added.
After the video went viral, child rights activists contacted the district collector asking for stringent action against those involved. Activist Achyuth Rao told News18, “The so-called ‘village head’ beat the couple black and blue. Who would’ve taken the responsibility if something had happened to them? This is brutality and not at all a way to counsel anyone.”
Updated Date: Aug 17, 2019 17:49:37 IST