Dalit women branded witches, beaten; cops file case 2 weeks later
Two weeks after Bhilwara district’s Guwardi village witnessed a case of “witch-hunt”, the local police stirred themselves to file an FIR.
On March 17, a 50-year-old Dalit woman and her daughter-in-law were beaten up by 11 men who had labelled them “witches”. The men had barged into the house when the rest of the family was away. The violence was the fallout of a long-standing property dispute.
But not only was the FIR lodged as late as April 2, Ganpat — son of Ramu Bai and husband of Ladi Devi — said the police had done their best to deter him from filing a complaint.
“The men called them witches, thrashed them and asked them to leave the village," the complaint read.
The assailants, including Ganpat’s neighbour Raju, his father Hardev Singh, are absconding.
Ganpat said the men were after his land.
After Ganpat met Bhilwara collector Onkar Singh, an FIR was ordered, but the police did not file it. “Instead, on March 25, the police told me not to pursue the case if I wanted peace," Ganpat said.
Acting superintendent of police, Bhilwara, Rajendra Singh Chowdhury, said he was looking into the delay in filing the FIR.
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