(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Authorities must investigate the alleged gang-rape of a 20 year-old adivasi woman in Birbhum, West Bengal, India, on January 20, 2013 and bring to justice those responsible, Amnesty International said.
The adivasi woman was allegedly gang-raped by 13 men on the orders of a khap panchayat – an unelected all-male village council – as punishment for falling in love with a Muslim man.
Divya Iyer, Senior Researcher, Amnesty International India said:
"The West Bengal police must thoroughly investigate this alleged gangrape, 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 'honor' killings. The Justice Verma Committee has pointed out that the orders of khap 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."
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million members in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.