'Go and enjoy yourselves': What tribal elder said before Indian gang rape victim was tied to a platform to be assaulted in view of entire village because of affair with a Muslim
- Woman, 20, sentenced to 'gang rape' by village court in east India
- Punished for having a relationship with a man of another religion
- She was tied to a platform and assaulted in front of the entire village
- The village head told the 13 men to 'go enjoy yourselves' after 'ruling'
The 20-year-old Indian woman who was gang-raped by 13 men was sexually assaulted while tied to a raised bamboo platform so her entire village could watch the torture, it emerged today.
The head of the village, who led the kangaroo court which sentenced the woman to the savage rape as punishment for her falling in love with a man from another village, told the other judges to ‘go enjoy yourselves’.
It was previously reported that she had been raped repeatedly in a hut, but today it emerged that she had been publicly humiliated on a platform set up close to the village headman's hut in the Suri district, West Bengal, the Times of India reported.
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Abhorrent: The 20-year-old woman, pictured arriving at a hospital in Western Bengal, was raped by more than a dozen men while tied to a bamboo platform in front of the entire village
Police arrest around a dozen people in connection with the gang rape of a 20-year-old woman from Birbhum District in West Bengal, India.
Disgusting: The village elder, who led the kangaroo court, told the other 'judges' to 'go enjoy themselves' with the 20-year-old
As the woman remained in intensive care today, further horrific details of the gang-rape punishment emerged.
Villagers told the Times of India that after the kangaroo court ordered her to be sexually savaged after she was caught sitting with her Muslim lover in another village, she was dragged onto a raised bamboo platform 'so that the gang rape was viewed by the entire village, children included.'
The head man, named as Boloi Murdy, who convened the makeshift court in the courtyard of his home, at first ordered the woman or her family to pay a fine of 50,000 rupees (£485).
Murdy is reported to have told the men who gathered to watch the cruel spectacle: 'If the family does not pay up, go and enjoy yourselves.'
The terrified woman and her lover had sat tied to separate trees as the 'court' discussed her 'crime'. Her lover was released after he promised to pay his fine, but the woman was not spared because her family did not have the money to pay immediately.
Crime scene: The woman was tied to a tree (pictured) before she was dragged to a shed and raped
Unspeakable abuse: The woman, seen surrounded by family members as she is escorted into hospital, was locked in a shed and raped overnight by 13 men, ten of which had been 'judges' in the kangaroo court which sentenced her
The dozen men were tied together with ropes as they were taken to a police station
Inhumane: The 13 men pointed out by the woman is said to have been 'teenagers and men as old as her father'
Disgusting crime: Some of the 13 suspects arrives in at a police station after being arrested
She was tied down to the bamboo platform and then, according to villagers who spoke to the Times of India, 'her cries rent the air all night but no-one stepped forward to help her Even her family, who lives 50 meters away, could not rescue her.'
The paper said the woman's family was not given even a night's time to arrange for money to pay the fine and once the headman ordered rape it was free for all.
'Among those who raped her were teenagers and some old enough to be her father,' said a villager. 'Almost the entire village - including children - had joined the kangaroo court.
'All of them hailed it as the correct move.'
The village has no electricity or school and, says the paper, the administration has always been wary of interfering with tribal traditions, leaving local rulers to live by their own laws.
'Even on Thursday, a day after the gang-rape by up to 13 people, the village didn't show any hint of repentance,' says the paper.
'The women, in fact, barracked police, insisting the men had done nothing wrong and that the woman had to be punished.'
Even the authorities have shown indifference to the woman's treatment.
The paper claims that at first the police did not seek custody of the accused men, allowing them to go free until their court appearances - which is unprecedented in gang-rape cases. Later they decided to hold the group in jail for 14 days.
To add to the woman's shameful treatment, the public prosecutor did not even turn up in court because it was a holiday and no government official has bothered to meet the woman's family or visit the scene of the crime.
Villagers were heard shouting that they would never allow the young woman or her family to return to the village, accusing the victim of framing the accused men because she had been ordered to leave the village if she continued with her affair.
A local politician, Mukul Roy, in a statement said: 'The government is firm and will take strictest action against the culprits. It is a social malaise and we shall combat it politically, socially and administratively.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2545138/Go-enjoy-What-tribal-elder-told-men-latest-Indian-gang-rape-victim-tied-bamboo-platform-assaulted-view-entire-village.html#ixzz2u4x91Kwv
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13 HINDUS GANG RAPED A HINDU WOMAN FOR AGREEING TO MARRY A MUSLIM - JAI HIND!
For Defying Village Rules in India, A Penalty of Rape
Practice Shows Limits of New Legislation Aimed at Protecting Women in Face of Deep Cultural Resistance
Feb. 20, 2014 10:46 p.m. ET
SUBALPUR, India—When the elders in this small Hindu farming village discovered last month that a local woman intended to marry a Muslim, their reaction was swift and savage.
The village chief and 12 others dragged the 20-year-old woman to a shed and gang-raped her, the local police allege. She and her suitor were then tied to a tree overnight, witnesses say, and the village council fined them the next day.
Such rough justice is common across wide swaths of rural India, where local leaders often ignore the law to enforce traditional social norms that run counter to more-liberal views now gaining ground in India's cities.
More than a year after the December 2012 fatal gang rape of a student on a New Delhi bus, which shocked India and drew global attention, the Subalpur case shows the limits of new legislation aimed at protecting women in the face of deep cultural resistance.
The woman reported the gang rape to police. Her alleged attackers—their lawyer says they are innocent—are in jail. Still, her family fears retaliation from villagers. "Her entire life has been ruined," her mother says. "Maybe the best thing to do was to keep quiet."
For hundreds of millions of women in India's impoverished countryside, conservative local leaders and informal village councils have long dictated everything from whom they can marry to what they can wear.
These informal councils, which are separate from state-sanctioned local governments, can't legally rule on village disputes or other matters of law. But the penalties they illegally impose can range from fines and ostracism to forced marriage, rape and death.
"Urban India is changing. But our villages remain centuries behind," says Shamina Shafiq, a member of India's National Commission for Women. Local councils are "one of the biggest stumbling blocks in the road to progress for women."
In 2012, an informal village council in Uttar Pradesh state proposed that only arranged marriages be permitted and that single women be barred from having cellphones or wearing jeans. Central-government officials condemned that move. P. Chidambaram, home minister at the time, told reporters in 2012 that "there is no place for such diktats in a democratic society."
But the government has struggled to curb the extralegal councils. Authorities say it is hard to gather statistics about the councils' actions because villagers generally don't report them to outsiders.
In response to widespread reports of torture by the councils, the Law Commission of India in 2012 drafted legislation to clamp down on them, but Parliament has yet to consider it.
Men can be victims, too. Police in Rajasthan state say a man from the state filed a complaint late last year alleging that villagers held him in a cage in neighboring Haryana state for three months and sodomized him in retribution for his eloping with a married Haryana woman. Rajasthan police say they transferred the case to the village where the alleged attack happened; police in the village say they haven't received the transfer request.
Women are the most common target of the village councils, say women's rights groups, and the Subalpur case illustrates the extent to which the councils still dominate rural women's lives.
Subalpur, in West Bengal state, is a grain-farming village of roughly 30 families about 125 miles from the nearest city, Kolkata. The closest police station is about 13 miles away in the town of Labpur.
Late one afternoon last month, the young woman's boyfriend arrived at her home in the village and proposed to her around sundown, according to the woman's police complaint. She agreed.
A village leader saw the man, a Muslim, enter the house, villagers say, and word of his engagement to the Hindu woman soon spread.
Later that evening, community leaders burst into the home—a one-room dwelling plastered with Bollywood movie posters and portraits of Hindu gods—the woman said in a complaint filed with police in Labpur, which has jurisdiction over Subalpur.
The village chief "directed" villagers to "enjoy" the woman as punishment, according to her allegations in a police report, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The chief, Balai Mardi, allegedly joined in the rape, police say.
The next morning, police and witnesses in the village say, elders met in the square to pass judgment on the couple, who were tied to a nearby palm tree. They imposed an $800 fine on the couple for deciding to marry outside the community.
Dozens of villagers, children in tow, watched the proceedings, the witnesses say. A half-dozen village residents the Journal interviewed in the days after the alleged assault either deny there was a rape or say they were sleeping and don't know what happened. Most express approval for the council's fine.
"I think it's a very lenient punishment for the crime they committed," says Lal Kisku, a middle-aged village man, of the fine. He says he suspects the woman faked the rape. She "should have been prepared to face the consequences of having relations with a man outside her community."
One of the woman's brothers took her to the Labpur police station by bicycle. Police there say her blouse was torn, she was bruised and her underwear was stained with semen when she arrived.
Police arrested 13 men, including the village chief, on suspicion of participating in the alleged gang rape. All remain in custody, but none have been charged. In India, police typically have at least two months to prepare a charge sheet; suspects are rarely charged during that period.
Police decline to make the men available for interviews. Dilip Ghosh, the lawyer for the men, says they were framed.
Debasis Ghose, the police inspector investigating the attack, says that villagers in the area seldom come to the police, preferring to handle their affairs based on conservative moral codes handed down over generations.
"These people have no idea about their rights, about the universe outside their village," Mr. Ghose says. "The word of the village elders is often the last word on any matter."
Rape victims can't be identified by name under Indian law without their permission. The woman declines through her mother to comment. Her mother asks that her name and her daughter's not be used.
Police in cities point to recent shifts in sex-crime-reporting statistics as evidence that public dialogue has rapidly altered how urban victims perceive themselves, particularly in the wake of the 2012 bus gang rape in India's capital.
In Delhi, more than 1,500 rapes were reported in 2013, up from 706 in 2012. Harassment reports jumped fivefold from 2012. Delhi police say the increase isn't due to rising crime rates, but to women's newfound willingness to report abuse.
In the countryside, it is a different story. Villagers in the same district as Subalpur say at least two similar attacks took place in recent years.
Late last year in Gobra, a village not far from Subalpur, a teenage girl was raped for dating a man from another community, residents there say. The village chief says he isn't aware of any such attack.
No one has registered a formal complaint regarding the alleged attack, local police say. They say the woman's family left the village, restraining any efforts to conduct a probe.
The second assault was in Battala, a village about 50 miles from Subalpur where electricity arrived only two years ago. One day in August 2010, Sunita Murmur, then 15, says her Muslim boyfriend was visiting her Hindu home when local leaders barged in and dragged her outside. "Village leaders asked me to forget him," says Ms. Mumur, now 19. "I said I couldn't."
About a dozen men, acting on the village chief's orders, stripped her naked and paraded her around the village as punishment for dating a Muslim, she says.
"I shrieked and shouted," Ms. Murmur says. "But nobody—not even one person—came forward to help. They all seemed to be enjoying the show."
Ms. Murmur says the men marched her through three villages before dumping her, naked and alone, on a nearby mountain. She says she was "scared for my family" so never approached the police.
Many villagers took mobile-phone videos of the assault, she says. After at least one of the videos surfaced later that month in the local news media, police investigated the matter and arrested 11 men, charging them with molestation, court documents show.
The men, free on bail, couldn't be located for comment. Some villagers say they haven't seen them there for months. A trial in the case is pending in West Bengal state.
Several residents of Ms. Murmur's village confirm her account but say they won't testify. "Everyone knows about this," says a village woman. "But we don't want to get ourselves involved," she says. "You never know—tomorrow the men may come after our families."
Informal village councils have been a legal quandary for some time. In a 2006 ruling in favor of a couple tortured for marrying outside their community, India's Supreme Court said the village councils' practice of taking the law into their own hands is "wholly illegal and has to be ruthlessly stamped out."
In a similar 2011 judgment, the Supreme Court said: "It is time to stamp out these barbaric, feudal practices which are a slur on our nation."
But with no new laws to curb councils, "how can you expect people's mind-sets to change when the law itself hasn't," says Rehana Adib, head of Astitva, a nonprofit that fights for women's rights in rural India. "Because there is no real law, people, especially the illiterate masses, don't find anything wrong with what their local leaders say."
Rural sex-crime victims continue to be ostracized and often are blamed for attacks, she says. "Sometimes, they fear for their families. Other times, they fear they would be shunned if they speak up."
The Subalpur woman's family, under police protection in a neighboring town, say they fear retribution. "We will be killed if we go back," says Sital Murmu, one of the woman's brothers.
The police and family say they don't know where the woman's fiancé is.
The mother, sobbing, says she regrets her daughter's decision to go to the police. "Who will ever want to marry her now?"