A gangrape survivor has been fined Rs 5,000 by a panchayat in Chhattisgarh’s Jashpur district for “bringing disrepute to the village” by going to police. The panchayat insists that she should have accepted their brand of ‘justice’— a fine of Rs 5,000 each on the two accused.

Police say they are yet to get a written complaint from the 23-year-old survivor on the panchayat penalising her, but they have taken note of it and begun investigation. The two rape suspects have been arrested. On November 4, the woman had walked out of her house after a quarrel with her brother and gone to a relative’s home to spend the night. There, the two men— Sandeep and Kishore— who were familiar to her, approached her for small-time labour work. They realized she was looking to fend for herself and decided to lure her into a trap, police say.

The next day, Sandeep and Kishore called her to a construction site, promising her work. When she arrived, she found it abandoned. The duo raped her, and warned of dire consequences if she complained to anyone.

But once home, the survivor informed her mother. She says they went to the police station to file a complaint. According to the cops, they only narrated what had happened. Asked to file a formal complaint, they seemed to hesitate, saying they will come back and do so.

Ten days later, word somehow spread in the village about the rape and panchayat members called a meeting to “discuss” it. After the survivor narrated her ordealin public— panchayat members said that Sandeep and Kishore would be fined Rs 5,000 each, but decreed that the woman was “equally a culprit because she chose police over panchayat”.