NEW DELHI : A 20-year-old woman was allegedly gang-raped by at least a dozen men in West Bengal’s Birbhum district on the orders of a medieval-style village “court” that decided to punish her for her relationship with a man from a different community.
The young woman, who is in hospital in a critical state, reportedly told the police that she was gang-raped through the night, so many times that she lost count, by neighbours she knew as uncles and ‘dadas’ (brother). 13 people named by her have been arrested.
The incident took place on Monday at a village called Subalpur in Birbhum, after villagers saw the woman’s friend at her house. The headman and a few others immediately called a “court” and demanded 25,000 each from the woman and the man as ‘jorimana’ or fine.
When the woman’s family said they couldn’t pay, the headman allegedly ordered the gang-rape. She was taken away and sent home the next day, after the assault, she told the police. Her friend’s brother had reportedly paid the “fine” and taken him away.
The woman’s family sneaked out of the village on Wednesday to file a First Information Report or FIR and take her to a hospital.
The incident, in President Pranab Mukherjee’s home district, comes at a time when the state’s Trinamool Congress government is facing anger over the death of a teenager who was gang-raped twice by the same group of men and set on fire by men known to the rapists, in Madhyamgram, a district just an hour from Kolkata.
Trinamool MP Derek O’ Brien tweeted this morning, “Awoke to terrible news of a young tribal girl gang-raped on Khap orders in Birbhum.10 ‘beasts’ swiftly rounded up.Social malaise; must change.”
Four years ago, a teenaged tribal girl was paraded naked on the orders of a similar medieval-style village court in the same district, Birbhum, for her alleged affair with a boy from a different community, sparking a massive outrage in the state.