Hyderabad: A Dalit couple was allegedly beaten up by the head of a village in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh after their families asked him to 'discipline' their children for eloping twice.
The incident came to light on Friday when a video of the assault went viral on social media. In the footage, the village chief, Boya Lingappa, is purportedly seen abusing, mercilessly beating the couple and caning them in front of a large crowd.
The 20-year-old boy and the 15-year-old girl, had reportedly tried to elope on two occasions since their families opposed their relationship, claiming they were first cousins. The families also refused to file a complaint against Lingappa, saying that they had approached the village elder to ‘discipline’ the couple in ‘whichever way possible’.
Sub-Inspector N Raghavendrappa, however, told News18 that the police will file a suo moto case against Lingappa based on the evidence. “Their parents say the elderly man had done nothing wrong and the action was necessary to teach them a lesson,” he said.
A case will be filed, under SC/ST atrocities act and other relevant sections prior to the preliminary investigation, police said.
Not just the families, the entire village was opposed to filing a complaint against Lingappa. “The parents themselves encouraged the Panchayat to be physically abusive. Although the Panchayat system is common in villages here, taking the law into their hands is unacceptable,” Raghavendrappa said.
Meanwhile, child rights activists have reached out to the District Collector demanding stringent action against those involved.
Activist, Achyuth Rao told News18, “The so-called ‘village head’ beat the couple black and blue. Who would’ve taken the responsibility if something had happened to them? This is brutality and not at all a way to counsel anyone.”