A middle-aged Dalit woman in Bihar was tonsured and paraded half-naked on the orders of the husband of a woman village head for allegedly stealing a few bananas.
Basra Devi, in her mid 50s, of Balua Basanta village in Vaishali district was meted out the "punishment" on Saturday.
"I was forcibly tonsured and paraded half-naked in the village by the people despite pleading that I was innocent," Besra Devi said.
According to villagers, after she refused to pay a fine her head was shaved.
"How can I pay a fine when I don't have enough to eat?" she said.
Satyanarayan Chaurasia, the landowner husband of the village woman head, has denied torturing and humiliating Besra Devi. "I have nothing to do with it," he said.
But villagers say it was done on his orders.
A few days ago, some landowners chopped off the fingers of a 10-year-old Dalit girl, Khusbu, for plucking a few leaves of spinach from a vegetable field in a village in Bhagalpur district.
A Dalit youth was beaten and humiliated in public by some powerful people in a village in Muzaffarpur district after he refused to work in a field without wages.
These are a few instances of the predicament of the poorest of the poor in rural Bihar. Most such cases go unreported.