December 23, 2014

INDIA: A Caste Panchayat (Village Elder) Orders Nose Of A Dalit (Untouchable) ‘Rape Victim’ Chopped Off.

The caste system in India is a system of social stratification which historically separated communities into thousands of endogamous hereditary groups called jฤtis, usually translated into English as "castes". The jฤtis are thought of as being grouped into four varnas: Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras. Certain groups, now known as "Dalits", were excluded from the varna system altogether, ostracised as untouchables.

How did this system come about?

Early written evidence about the caste system appears in the Vedas, Sanskrit-language texts from as early as 1500 BCE, which form the basis of Hindu scripture. The Rigveda, from c. 1700-1100 BCE, rarely mentions caste distinctions, and indicates that social mobility was common.

The Bhagavad Gita, however, from c. 200 BCE-200 CE, emphasizes the importance of caste. In addition, the "Laws of Manu" or Manusmriti from the same era defines the rights and duties of the four different castes or varnas.

Thus, it seems that the Hindu caste system began to solidify sometime between 1000 and 200 BCE.
Hindustan Times
written by Mukesh Mathrani
Tuesday December 23, 2014

A caste panchayat in a Barmer village in Rajasthan ordered that the nose of an alleged Dalit rape victim be chopped off, reportedly at the behest of the suspect.

The victim on Monday met the district’s superintendent of police and sought police protection from the villagers and the suspect, who happens to be her father-in-law.

Caste panchayats are groups of village elders that pass dictates on disputes among members of their caste.

According to officials, the woman said her father-in-law had been harassing her since she got married recently before he allegedly raped her in September. She had at the time complained to the police after which the suspect was arrested and imprisoned for trial.

After he was released on bail four days back, the father-in-law organised the caste panchayat that decided to maim her, the complainant claimed.

Members of the panchayat had attempted to attack her on December 19 but she hid in her maternal home and her father covered up for her, the woman said, adding that his family has since been threatened with dire consequences.

Dhorimanna police station in-charge Devichand Dhaka confirmed they got the direction from the SP office and investigations had begun.

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