An Amnesty International petition calling on the Indian government to overturn the sentence of two sisters from the “untouchable” caste in India who are to be punished by gang-rape and humiliation has already received more than 170,000 signatures. The punishment seems almost too absurd to be real, as does the so-called crime. An all-male, unelected village council in the Baghpat district ruled that the two sisters, 23 and 15 years old, should be raped and then marched through the streets with blackened faces — all because of their brother’s indiscretion: He eloped with a married woman from a higher caste. The family had already fled their village and petitioned a higher court for protection after their home had been trashed by angry villagers. While India’s Supreme Court has already deemed these kinds of unelected councils to be illegal, they are still widespread throughout the country, which often leads to the abuse of girls and women. “The Supreme Court must uphold the rule of law and condemn Uttar Pradesh for allowing an informal legal council to sentence innocent girls to rape as a form of punishment.” Shelby Quast, policy director at gender advocacy group Equality Now, told The Daily Beast.
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