Authorities must investigate the alleged horrific gang rape of a 20 year-old adivasi woman in Birbhum, West Bengal, on 20 January 2013 and bring to justice those responsible, Amnesty International says.
The adivasi woman was reported to have been gang raped by 13 men on the orders of a chap panchayat -- an unelected all-male village council -- as punishment for falling in love with a Muslim man.
Divya Iyer, Senior Researcher from Amnesty India commented: "The West Bengal police must thoroughly investigate this alleged gang rape, and bring to justice those responsible. Authorities must also ensure that the woman and her family receive immediate and adequate police protection.
“Any person found guilty of inciting violence against the woman must be held accountable.
“Khap panchayats notoriously issue extra-legal decrees ordering inhuman and sexually violent punishments against women, including 'honour' killings. The Justice Verma Committee has pointed out that the orders of chap panchayats are illegal, and urged the government to crack down on them.
“Authorities must ensure that women's rights to choose their partners are respected and protected, and take steps to end discrimination and violence against women."