Everywhere in rural India, the ultra-conservative local village councils consisting of elderly individuals wield enormous power. With their traditionally archaic mindset their verdicts can be devastating, targeting the innocent based on brutal revenge. They are authorized to make rigid rules on marriages, dowries and gender roles. They have the authority to make laws on how women should dress (nothing to do with modesty, rather the personal whims and desires of the village head) and whether or not a woman and a man in relationship deserve to die (honor killing). Rape is often the punishment for a woman's "disobedience." Their influence is widespread throughout rural India. Villagers have no other choice but to obey them out of fear as these local councils have the power to ostracize those who reject their decisions.
A couple of days ago on July 12, 2014 in northeastern India, a man raped a married woman. She was the daughter of the head of the village council, who consequently ordered his son-in-law to rape the 14-year-old sister of that man as a punishment for his crime. The order was carried out by dragging the girl from her home into a forest and sexually assaulting her while the entire village remained silent to the cries of the young girl.
In January of 2014, a village council of elders in Indian Bengal ordered a 20-year-old female to be raped as a penalty for her decision to marry a man from a different community.
The government's inefficiency and messed up priorities are squarely responsible for the existence of such decadent institutions functioning 'legally.' The local government's lack of interest to interact with its people and settle their disputes has led to the establishment of local village councils. In most Indian villages, the local government offices are located too far away for villagers to access them. While the government sectors are busy with their own deceptions and corruptions, the existence of the village councils suits them fine.
The caste system being rife in India is the core problem. Many of these villagers belong to the low caste and are completely shunned or expelled by wealthy villagers, the urban community and the local governments. It makes the situation conducive for the vigilantes to dictate their terms and assert their authority. Consequently those teeming and impoverished masses seen as "untouchables" by the wealthy minority are forced to helplessly endure the tyranny of the vigilantes.
Ask yourself .... "largest democracy" or shame to civilization?