Indian village council has denied allegations that it gave rape order for two young ladies in the Baghpat region of northern India.
The two ladies were sisters from same family and were raped because their brother eloped with a higher class woman. The village council’s claimed decree led to an international complain and that hundreds of thousands of people have requested for the safety of the sisters.
Members of the village council have told Reuters they passed no such command.
Family members of the two sisters said they are contemplating whether the decree was made but local police deny any such instruction was given.
The family members also told Reuters that order may have just been a gossip on the council
"It is all hearsay, we don't know if this actually happened," said Dharam Pal Singh, (55) the women's father and a retired soldier. "We heard it from other villagers."
Provocative allegations were packed in a petition to the Supreme Court filed by a lawyer for the Singh family seeking justice for the two sisters. The court filing said one of Singh's sons fell in love with a married woman of a higher class, leading to a row between the two families.
Most purported sensational allegation in the court filing said Meenakshi Kumari (23) and her 15-year-old sister fled their home after being told they would be stripped naked and paraded with their faces blackened before being raped to compensate for their brother's fault.
Rahul Tyagi, the lawyer who took the case to the Supreme Court, was hired by the family when the dispute between the two family started last month.
Tyagi said he stood by the petition, claimed the family filed because of fears for the safety of the sisters, and denied failing to revisit the facts.
However, he said he had never visited the village, nor spoken to any officials of the council who supposedly issued the rape order.
No proof yet
Reuters interviewed more than 20 people involved in the incident in the village of Sankrod, in Baghpat district, an hour's drive away from the capital New Delhi.
Sharad Sachan, a police superintendent, said after interviewing council leaders and villagers that no such order had been given. "The Supreme Court asked us to investigate and we plan to tell them our findings later this month," Sachan said.
"How many times do I have to tell you that there was no meeting?" said Bala Devi (55) who has run the council for the last five years. "We spend our time discussing mundane things like fixing the roads or water pumps."
Amnesty said it neither investigated the case nor visited the village, but relied on the court’s petition. Gopika Bashi, women's rights activist at Amnesty International India, said that despite the speculations over the incident there were no plans to withdraw the court’s submission.
"We will continue to push for protection for the family," she said.
The allegation first emerged last month and it spread like wildfire. An online petition by Amnesty International seeking justice and safety for the low class sisters gathered over 260,000 signatures, mostly in Britain.