Call it irony. Women – traditionally at the receiving end of mahapanchayat diktats – have assumed charge in the troubled Khera village of Meerut even as their husbands and sons have gone into hiding.
Police atrocities, they say, have driven their men to hiding in fields and jungles. And now, with the cane in the fields ready for cutting and the men gone, the women are desperate.
“Only women are left in this village, so now we will carry on this battle,” said Videsh Singh, mother of Gaurav Pratap Singh, the village pradhan.
“The policemen opened fire on us as if we were terrorists. They abused and thrashed women. We want action,” said a staff-wielding Munni Devi, who claims to have been manhandled during the Khera mahapanchayat a week ago.
“The police suddenly started attacking us. I pleaded for mercy but they kept hitting me,” said a wheelchair bound Chote Lal, 60, who hasn’t been out of his bed since Sunday.
Police, however, denied any illegal detention or attacking women and elders.