Police Friday arrested two village panchayat members of Pokra Kala in Sitapur district for allegedly harassing a family to pay a fine of Rs 1 lakh or face social boycott.
The panchayat “meted out the punishment” to one Prem Chand after he falsely accused his neighbour of stealing his buffaloes, police said.
Prem Chand filed the complaint on Thursday against nine members of the panchayat, L R Kumar, Sitapur Superintendent of Police (SP).
The case has been lodged under IPC sections 385 (putting person in fear of injury in order to commit extortion), 501 (printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory) and 506 (criminal intimidation), police said. Police are trying to trace the other named accused, they added.
The arrested people are Dev Ram (43) and Nek Ram (45), both named in the FIR. They were later produced before a local court which sent them to jail, said M P Chauhan, Additional SP, Sitapur.
“The buffaloes were reportedly stolen on December 6, but he didn’t lodge any police complaint in this regard. Two days after, he was informed by a few locals that his neighbour Inder was behind it. On Prem Chand’s request, a panchayat of senior community members was held in the village in the last week of December. Though Inder reportedly denied the allegations, Prem Chand allegedly insisted Inder to swear in the name of god at a village temple that he was innocent. Panchayat members then came to the conclusion that if nothing adverse happens to Inder or his family members in a week, it will be confirmed that the allegations were false,” Sadarpur Station House Officer, Surya Bala Pandey said.
“After seven days, Inder approached the panchayat requesting action against Prem Chand for making false allegations against him. The members last week asked Prem Chand to pay a fine of Rs 1 lakh and also organise a feast for the villagers as punishment. The members also threatened him that his family would face social boycott, if he fails to oblige,” SHO added.
“The panchayat also got the order written on a paper and circulated it in neigbouring villages as well. Prem Chand tried to convince the members of the panchayat, but failed in his attempt and later lodged a complaint with the police,” said Pandey.