Forced to do sit ups as punishment, Bengal woman loses foetus
The court was convened to decide on how the woman should be punished for ‘bringing disrepute’ to the village for having an affair and marrying a man of her choice.
An 18-year-old woman who was two months pregnant, allegedly lost her foetus after she was forced to do sit-ups and thrashed in a ‘kangaroo court’ in a village near the industrial town of Haldia in Bengal on Tuesday night.
The self-appointed ‘court ‘ was convened to take a decision on how the woman should be punished for bringing disrepute to the village for having an affair and then marrying a man.
“They got married three months ago. We agreed to the affair after initial resistance, but the village elders could not,” remarked the mother of the victim.
According to a three-page complaint lodged by the mother of the victim, her daughter was tortured, after the village headman present at the spot ordered it.
The ‘kangaroo court’ was held on November 27 in Uttar Ranichak village, about 124 km from Kolkata, and stretched from 9:30 pm to 20 minutes past midnight.
The complaint mentions the names of five accused including the village headman Sheikh Rabiul Mullick, the secretary of the village Sheikh Ashraf Ali and three witnesses.
“She was directed to do 25 sit-ups. But after 9 to 10 she lost consciousness and fell to the ground. Mullick and Ali asked three persons to beat her up . They rained blows on her and kicked her in the stomach,” read the complaint. They also snatched a 12 gram gold chain she had around her neck.
The victim is still in the hospital. “I have deposited all medical records of the hospital along with my complaint,” said the mother of the victim.
The police is yet to arrest anyone. “We have received a complaint. We are probing the allegations on the spot. All the accused named in the compliant have fled,” said Tanmay Mukherjee, sub-divisional police officer.
“It’s a serious allegation. I have asked the police to take prompt action,” said Sanjay Sikdar, block development officer of Sutahata.
After the torture, the woman was taken by villagers to a primary health centre. But when her condition did not improve, she was rushed to the Haldia sub-divisional hospital where she suffered terrible pain in the lower abdomen. “She also lost the foetus,” the mother wrote in the complaint.
BJP district president Pradip Das said, “The police should take strong action.”
“It is a dastardly act. We have told the police to arrest the culprits immediately,” said block Trinamool Congress leader Sheikh Mainuddin. He denied that Mullick and Ali had any links with the ruling party.
“We will evict you and your family from the village, the men kept warning,” wrote the victim’s mother. “If your daughter and son-in-law set foot in our village, we will not let them return.”
“We are living in a climate of fear since the perpetrators are threatening to evict us and kill us,” the woman said.
She also wrote that when her daughter was going to fetch water from a local tubewell on the evening of November 27, three men on a white motorbike confronted her and said that if she agreed to having sex with them, they would throw their weight behind her in the kangaroo court. Her daughter rejected their offer and the atrocities followed, alleged the complainant.
The husband of the victim is about 21 years old and is a carpenter while her father is a daily-wage labourer.
Bengal is one of the worst performing states when it comes to crimes against women. According to National Crime Records Bureau data, the state accounted for 11.31%, 10.11% and 9.6% of all the crime against women in the country in 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively.
In 2012, Bengal had accounted for 12.67% of all cases in India, making the state the worst offender in the country.