A disturbing incident has been reported from Andhra Pradesh. A minor Dalit girl and her 20-year-old cousin, named Sai Kiran, were allegedly thrashed by a village elder as they wanted to marry each other.
Their parents were opposed to their relationship and asked the elderly to "teach them a lesson". A police case has been registered.
Here's what went down.
While people watched, 70-year-old thrashed couple
The incident happened in KP Doddi village of Gummagatta block in Anantpur district earlier this week but caught attention only recently after the video of the assault surfaced on social media.
As per News18, the village chief, Boya Lingappa, abused the couple in front of a large crowd.
The 70-year-old beat and caned them mercilessly, the report added.
The couple tried eloping twice
Reportedly, the couple fled some time ago but their parents traced them down. The girl allegedly tried to run away with Kiran one more time, prompting her parents to approach panchayat.
The village elders advised them to forget about their love, but the girl remained adamant.
She insisted she wants to marry Kiran, which enraged Lingappa and he started thrashing them. The girl's father also beat her.
No one in village wanted to file complaint against Lingappa
When police saw the video and rushed to the village, they found themselves in a fix as none of the family members wanted to file a complaint.
"Their parents say the elderly man had done nothing wrong and the action was necessary to teach them a lesson," Sub-Inspector N Raghavendrappa told the daily.
The entire village was opposed to filing a complaint against Lingappa.
Family didn't even let girl file a complaint: Police
"The villagers, including the girl's parents and relatives, asked us to stay away, as it was a family matter. They did not even allow the girl to file a complaint," Sainath, the circle inspector of Rayadurgam, was quoted by HT.
Police filed case against Lingappa, Kiran could be booked too
Based on the video evidence, police filed a case against Lingappa. "We registered a suo motu case against Lingappa under Section 324 of Indian Penal Code (Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means)," Sainath said.
Meanwhile, Kiran could also be booked under POCSO Act since the girl is a minor.
She will be produced before Child Welfare Committee and ICDS officials, police said.