The Holy Bible considers rape as one of the most heinous and despicable crimes a person can commit. The Book of Deutoronomy in the Old Testament particularly condemns forcing a woman into a sexual encounter against her will.
However, in India, an unelected village council of male elders recently issued a bizarre ruling, ordering that two sisters be raped to atone for the transgression committed by their brother who eloped with a woman belonging to a higher caste.
The vileness of the sentence does not stop there: The girls, identified as 23-year-old Meenakshi Kumari and her 15-year-old sister, were also ordered by the council, known as the "Khap" court, to be paraded naked with blackened faces to further humiliate them.
Because of this, the Kumari sisters have already fled their home in Baghpat village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
They also sought help from the Indian Supreme Court to reverse the unimaginable sentence handed down to them by the village elders for an act they have nothing to do with.
The sisters also complained that the police have been harassing them and their family instead of protecting them.
Human rights group Amnesty International has launched an online petition to put pressure on Indian authorities to help save the Kumari sisters.
The petition has so far gathered 176,972 supporters—close to its target of 200,000.
"Nothing could justify this abhorrent punishment. It's not fair. It's not right. And it's against the law. Demand that the local authorities intervene immediately," the Amnesty International online petition read.
Rachel Alcock, the groups' British Urgent Action Coordinator, strongly condemned the Indian elders' decision.
"Rape is a revolting crime, not a punishment. It's no wonder this disgusting 'sentence' has provoked global outrage. These Khap courts routinely order vile sexually violent punishments against women," Alcock said.
Brian May, lead guitarist of the legendary rock band "Queen," also expressed disgust over the rape sentence on the sisters.
"Unbelievable. How do we combat the mountain of evil in our world? Step by step, stone by stone, day by day," May said in a tweet.