Darbhanga (Bihar): A Scheduled Caste man and a Muslim girl had their faces blackened and were assaulted by members of a panchayat for deciding to marry against the wishes of village elders in Bihar's Darbhanga district.
Ganesh Sada and Lal Bibi of Kumharauli, who were in love for the past three years, were assaulted, their faces blackened and paraded through the village on October 9 by members of Radhi Poorvi panchayat, according to an FIR filed at Kamtaul police station.
The panchayat members also forcibly shaved the heads of the girl's parents and locked them in a room. On getting information two days after the incident, the officer in-charge of Kamtaul police station, Arun Kumar Gupta, set free the girl's parents and got them admitted to a hospital at Jale block.
The FIR, lodged on the basis of a statement by Sada on October 11, named 21 accused, including the husbands of the mukhiya and sarpanch of the panchayat, son of the sarpanch and about 400 unknown people.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Dilip Kumar Mishra visited the village on October 13.
When contacted, Mishra said that raids were continuing at the houses of the sarpanch and mukhiya, but the accused remained untraced.
Despite the Bihar government's decision to give an award to those entering into inter-caste marriages as part of an effort to bring in social change, there is considerable opposition to such weddings, particularly in rural areas.