NEW DELHI: Amnesty International has filed a petition with the Principal Secretary of Lucknow regarding a ‘Khap’ panchayat diktat which ordered two sisters to be paraded naked throughout the village with their faces blackened. So far, 27000 Brits have signed the petition.

Meenakshi Kumari, 23, and her 15 year old sister belong to a dalit family in Baghpat, and now they fear for their lives from the dominant Jat community of their village. It has been alleged that Ravi, the brother of two sisters, had been in love with a Jat girl, whose family members, when they found out, married her off to someone from their own community. But she, after a few months, had eloped with Ravi, which consternated her whole community. Ravi along with the girl returned later when his family started receiving threats from Jats, and in July, the elderly men of ‘Khap’ panchayat decided to humiliate Ravi’s sisters before the whole village.

Meenakshi and her sister have since fled the village and they are in Delhi. They have approached Supreme Court to take action against the people who threatened them. Meanwhile, their village house has been ransacked and taken over by the Jats. The girl wrote in her petition that even police had tortured them when they were in back in the village.

Sumit Kumar, another brother of the girls, said that there’s no fighting against the diktats. “Jats’ decision is final”, he said.

Amnesty International has called the incidence “disgusting” and has urged the UP government in their petition to, “carry out a swift, full and impartial investigation into the orders passed by the khap panchayat to rape the sisters, and where sufficient evidence exists, prosecute the suspects”.

Rachel Alcock, Amnesty UK’s Urgent Action Coordinator while condemning the act told The Mirror that "Rape is a revolting crime, not a punishment. It’s no wonder this disgusting ‘sentence’ has provoked global outrage.

"These Khap courts routinely order vile sexually violent punishments against women. India’s Supreme Court has rightly declared such orders illegal.”

A bench of Apex Court judges formed of Justice Markanday Katju and Gyan Sudha Misra had, in 2011, declared khap panchayats illegal and had advised that they be “stamped out”. Still, khap panchayats wield just as heft , and sometimes more, as any legal bodies in many states of our country, mainly in Haryana, UP, and Rajasthan.