A minor Dalit girl was mercilessly thrashed by a village elder in public for eloping with a man in Andhra Pradesh's KP Dhoddi village of Anantapur district.
The incident took place on Thursday but came to light after a video of the incident went viral on Friday.
The 17-year-old girl was beaten up by 70-year-old Boya Lingappa during a village panchayat in which she and her 20-year-old cousin Sai Kiran were pulled up for eloping and bringing a bad name to their families and the village.
The duo was in a relationship for quite some time and had eloped in the past but their parents traced them back and bought them back to the village. A warning was issued to both of them to end the relationship but they continued to refuse it, said sources.
Enraged over the girl's refusal to stop having any relation with the youth, Lingappa started beating her, first with his hands and then with a stick. The old man even kicked her and also thrashed Sai Kiran.
The girl's parents had approached Lingappa after she eloped with the boy 10 days ago. When the couple returned, Lingappa was called to hold the panchayat.
Anantapur District Superintendent of Police B. Satya Yesu Babu said they received no complaint from the parents of either the girl or the youth.
However, based on the video evidence a suo moto case was registered against Lingappa under Section 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means) of the Indian Penal Code.
However, the accused has not been arrested as the villagers reportedly threatened to protest outside the police station. Claiming that it is their family matter, the villagers told the police to keep off.
As the girl is minor, Sai Kiran may be booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
(With IANS inputs)