Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Malkangiri, Sep 17:
If you are under the impression that Khap panchayats are only prevalent in Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh and parts of Rajasthan, you are wrong; instant justice by kangaroo courts does exist in Odisha’s remote tribal dominated Malkangiri district too.
One such incident has come to notice with a village elders’ court in Chimtapalli panchayat imposing a fine of Rs 60,000 on sarpanch Prahallad Pangi who was accused of repeatedly raping a minor and getting her pregnant.
After the matter came to light, an elders’ court was held in the panchayat. The elders’ court imposed a fine of Rs 60,000 on the accused out of which Rs 30,000 was to be paid into the village fund and the remaining Rs 30,000 to the victim’s family as compensation to get married elsewhere.
The 13-year old girl, an orphan, is allegedly four to five months into her pregnancy, reports said.
“She has been raped forcibly. The sarpanch has gone into hiding. Four to five days back, they had held a meeting. He has been fined Rs 60,000. Out of that Rs 30,000 will be deposited in the village fund and Rs 30,000 will be given to the victim’s family,” said the victim’s brother.
Being an orphan, the minor girl was staying at her paternal uncle’s house and used to earn her bread by working at sarpanch Prahallad Pangi’s house which was opposite her uncle’s house. The girl was engaged in construction work at the sarpanch’s house when she was allegedly subjected to repeated rapes by the sarpanch.
On the other hand, the accused sarpanch has said that since panchayat elections are ahead, this has been done by his political rivals to defame him.
“These days, everything depends on you media people. These charges have been levelled against me with evil intention. They have levelled false charges against me since panchayat elections are due within six months or a year,” said Prahallad Pangi, the accused sarpanch, speaking to reporters.
While the victim and her family members have fled the village out of fear, the police have suo motu registered a case against the sarpanch and are investigating the matter. The sarpanch too is absconding from his house from today.
“We have received a complaint of rape against Puruna Chimtapalli GP sarpanch Prahallad Pangi. The sarpanch has allegedly raped a minor. We are investigating the matter. The minor girl is yet to be traced out. After she is traced, we will record her statement and basing on her statement will initiate action against the accused sarpanch. Chimtapalli GP falls under Orkel police limits,” said Nirmal Mohanty SDPO speaking to reporters.