Jharkhand: Tribal girl stripped, filmed in women’s college for phone ‘theft’
A framer in Jharkhand’s Dumka district has threatened to commit suicide along with his daughter after she was accused of stealing a mobile phone, stripped, thrashed and filmed by a group of students in a women’s college.
The incident took place in Santhal Pargana Women’s College on August 4 and the video was shared on social media. Since the incident, the victim and her father, a poor farmer, went to local police, women police station, SC/ SC police station but claim that nobody came forward to assist them.
Worried about his daughter’s future, the farmer says they are contemplating suicide.
“What’s the fate of my daughter now? How will she go to the college? How will she face the society? Who will marry her? Lumpen elements will now blackmail her,” said the hapless and shocked father, accusing the administration of ignoring the sensitive issue.
Dumka police superintendent Mayur Patel, however said, that police officials met the girl on Monday, recorded her statement and filed an FIR against the accused.
“We are proceeding with the inquiry. I assure the guilty students would not be spared,” Patel said.
He went on to add that the police is reaching out to the administrators of various WhatsApp groups to ensure that the video is deleted and is not circulated any further.
A senior official of the college, who refused to be quoted, said since the incident occurred inside the hostel and both the accused as well the victim are tribals, there is pressure on the college authorities from the community leaders to settle the dispute on the campus through negotiation.
According to victim, she recently purchased a second hand phone for Rs. 500. During that period, a girl had lost her cell phone. When she saw my phone, she charged me with stealing her phone.
She said, soon other girls joined and accused her of being a thief. The students held a maha-panchayat (students’ council) inside the hostel. “Few students from other colleges also joined the meeting where I was declared a culprit. Soon the crowd of students attacked me. They thrashed and stripped me calling me a thief. I saw a couple of girls filming the entire episode.”
The victim said the maha-panchayat later issued a diktat asking her to deposit a penalty of Rs. 18,600 failing which, they threatened they would make the video viral. The girl left the hostel and went to her village where she narrated her ordeals to her father.
Her father went to the hostel two days later and pleaded with the student leaders to give him time till August 25 to pay the penalty and not to make the video viral.
“I will sell my oxen and submit the amount,” he appealed before returning home.
However, by then few girls had already circulated the video among their friends that went viral. Since then, the father-daughter duo has been running for help and justice. Hostel warden, Annu Murmu said she has submitted a detailed report to the principal, Dr Renuka Nath, ‘who will decide the future course of action.’ The principal hasn’t spoken to media yet.