The Injustice League: In Bengal, Woman Gang-raped, Fined for Dating a Non-Tribal Man by Kangaroo Court

Gender

The Injustice League: In Bengal, Woman Gang-raped, Fined for Dating a Non-Tribal Man by Kangaroo Court

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

It’s no surprise that India is not the safest country in the world, especially for women. Still a recent report from West Bengal has left readers in disbelief.

Last week, a tribal woman and her boyfriend said that they were abducted by a few men in West Bengal’s Birbhum district and kept in confinement overnight, before five men raped the woman. The couple were travelling on a bike when they were ambushed, they said.

Later, when the woman approached a local kangaroo court for justice, however, the matter only got worse. The woman has said that rather than take the men to task, the couple was instead asked to pay fines amounting to ₹60,000.

The police said on Tuesday that five men were arrested for abducting the woman and her boyfriend, and for the rape that took place early on August 19. They also confirmed that an investigation has been launched into the supposed kangaroo court and its members.

According to local reports the fine was imposed because the woman, who was tribal, was dating a non-tribal, but these reports are yet to be confirmed. The woman says she was asked to pay a fine of ₹10,000, while the man was asked to pay ₹50,000.

The police were quoted in the New Indian Express as saying that the woman’s husband died a few years ago, and the mother of two had recently met her boyfriend. “The tribals were against the relationship and the incident appears to be a fallout of it,” an officer said.

That report also says that the kangaroo court demanded the fine first, and when the couple failed to pay up, were put through the torturous ordeal by those who led the court.

However, going by either account, the horrific story is once again placing the spotlight on not only the staggering number of rapes that take place on a daily basis, but also the high-handedness of the self-appointed kangaroo courts that operate in most parts of the country. Let’s hope the couple soon get the justice they deserve.

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