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West Bengal gang-rape ordered by 'kangaroo court' branded as 'horror of life in rural India' by world media

Friday, 24 January 2014 - 9:58am IST | Agency: dna webdesk

The shocking story of a 20-year-old being gang-raped by 13 men on the orders of the elders in a village in West Bengal because she was in love with a man outside her community has caused waves not just in the Indian but also the world media.
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The Delhi gang-rape shocked the world and now another shocker from India of a 20-year-old woman who was gang-raped by 13 men.

What makes this case even more shocking is the fact that the rape was ordered by the her community leaders who decided to mete out the 'punishment' for her 'crime' of being in love with someone outside her community.

The woman’s family, in their complaint, said she was gang-raped by 13 persons after a salishi sabha or kangaroo court decided to punish her on January 21. The victim said that among those who brutalised her were people old enough to be her father. The victim and her paramour were caught, tied to a tree and assaulted after which they were asked to pay a fine of Rs50,000. The gang-rape took place after the girl said that she was unable to pay.

“The morol (village headman) ordered that I be ‘enjoyed’ by the men of the village. Following his orders, at least 13 people, including (some) members of a single family, continuously raped me. I lost count of how many times I was raped,” said the victim.

There has been outrage in the country as well as the media. The international media has also slammed the case in reports of the event.

The Daily Mail story said, "Kangaroo court orders Indian woman to be gang-raped by 13 men for having a relationship with a man from another village... with the 'judges' carrying out the punishment."

The report on BBC said, "Violence and discrimination against women remain deeply entrenched in India's staunchly patriarchal society."

CNN has a report with the headline, "Woman in India tells police village head ordered her gang-raped." That in short explains the entire ordeal of the woman.

Express reports say, "Horror of life in rural India: Gang-raped by 13 men for falling in love with the wrong man."

The Guardian report reads, "India reels from another horrific gang rape case in wave of sexual violence."

The report goes on to explain the rise in crimes against women in India saying, "Many commentators say it is a consequence of the efforts of a growing number of women, even in remote areas, to claim basic freedoms denied for centuries. Others point to India's acute gender imbalance, tenacious caste system and entrenched patriarchal culture. Conservatives have blamed 'western influences', women's clothing and even fast food."

Trying to explain the Khap and village leaders model the report says, "Informal village courts run by local male elders, such as that which ordered this most recent attack, are common across much of rural India and are frequently responsible for inflicting cruel, sometimes lethal, punishments for supposed social transgressions such as marrying without their prior consent. Such courts also frequently oblige relatives to take violent action to restore the 'honour' of a community."

The New York Times report has a headline that says, "Village Council in India Accused of Ordering Rape."

Time report says, "Indian Village Tribunal Orders Gang Rape of Woman."

The Telegraph report says, "Indian village elders arrested for 'ordering' gang-rape."

The report has details of the case that say, "The woman, who has not been named, was tied to a tree in Labhpur, a remote part of West Bengal's Birbhum district, and gang-raped by villagers who were told by elders to 'enjoy' themselves."

Amidst all the rage around the incident Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee shunted out Birbhum Superintendent of Police for failing to seek police remand for 13 accused in the gang-rape.

Banerjee, who also looks after Home portfolio, condemned the incident and directed that SP Darjeeling Kunal Agarwal would take over in Birbhum.

Sources in Suri hospital where she was admitted, said that she underwent some tests and was now stable.

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