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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Bihar: woman battered to death on panchayat order

Aditya Nath Jha, Hindustan Times  Purnia (Bihar), December 03, 2012
First Published: 23:43 IST(3/12/2012) | Last Updated: 02:00 IST(4/12/2012)

A village in Bihar's Purnia district is not the Ghazi stadium of Kabul. Still, last week, the locals there witnessed a Taliban-style execution - a woman being beaten to death for alleged adultery.

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Bibi Shehzadi, 32, a Muslim housewife of Asiyani village who had been hailed for starting a self-help group for impoverished women, was allegedly given a "death sentence" by the local panchayat on Thursday. Investigation in the case is on, but no one had been arrested till the filing of this report.

A mother of three, Shehzadi had been accused of having an illicit relationship with a relative, Md Salim. Her husband Md Munna works in Ludhiana.

The Tiyarpara panchayat, headed by sarpanch Zaki Ahmad, "tried" Shehzadi and pronounced her "guilty". "She was executed in public, but no one dared to protest," said an eyewitness on condition of anonymity.

Some locals, however, alleged that Shehzadi was killed because her husband, Md Munna, had launched a campaign against the sarpanch during the last panchayat poll. But the supporters of Zaki Ahmad claimed Shehzadi had died after 'consuming poison'.

"ASP Deepak Barnwal had been asked to ascertain the exact cause of the woman's death," said Amit Lodha, superintendent of police, Purnia.

Barnwal, who visited the village on Sunday, said there were signs of injury on the body, but a conclusion can be reached only after a postmortem report.

Four years ago, Shahzadi had formed a self help group called Suhana and was popular among the village women.

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