In a shocking incident, a panchayat in Bihar has ordered one of its members accused of raping a Mahadalit woman to pay her Rs.41,000 and asked the victim to not report the incident, police said Saturday.
The incident occurred in a panchayat under Kodha police station in Katihar district.
But the accused, a local muscleman, refused to pay the money. When she protested about his refusal to pay amount, the accused set her husband on fire injuring him badly, said a police official Sunil Kumar.
This forced the victim to approach Katihar Superintendent of Police Kshatraneel Singh two days ago for justice.
Singh has ordered an investigation into the incident.
"One of the accused Naresh Ravidas has been arrested while the main accused Prakash Ravidas is absconding," police said.
According to police, the incident occurred last month when the victim was called to panchayat building by the Prakash on the pretext of readying documents related to Indira Awas Yojana.
"In her complaint to police she has informed that she was raped by him and threatened not to disclose it," police said.
Last year, a panchayat in Kishanganj district had ordered a minor girl, who was raped by four brothers and was seven months pregnant, to take Rs.50,000 and undergo an abortion. When she approached police an FIR was lodged and accused were arrested.
In a similar case in September 2014, a panchayat in Muzaffarpur district ordered a minor rape victim to take Rs.2 lakh and undergo abortion.