It pained us to even read this awful piece of news, but we feel that it’s an important story to be shared among our readers.
In West Bengal, a 20-year-old woman who planned to marry a man from outside her village, was gang-raped by a group of men at the order of her own village council.
New York Times reported that thirteen men were arrested, but the victim says she lost count of how many men had raped her. She was hospitalized in serious condition.
The woman fell in love with a man from a different region. When the village council in Subalpur village found out, they ordered her to pay a fine of $400. Unfortunately, her family was too poor to pay the fine. That was when the council ordered the gang rape.
When journalists headed to Subalpur to question other villagers, some of them were quick to blame the victim for the rape. From the LA Times:
“She is a bad character,” an unidentified mother of two, who is related by marriage to one of the suspects, told NDTV. “She was going around with this non-tribal man. We told her not to, but she didn’t listen.”
The woman denied that a gang rape occurred, saying that the council meeting lasted the entire night.
“I was there. When was it possible to gang-rape the girl?” she was quoted as saying. “If she dares to come back to the village, I will kill her.”
The victim’s family filed a police report on Wednesday, and she is reported to be in stable condition.
Several years ago in another village, a woman was forced to parade around the village nude when she was accused of falling in love with a man from a different caste.
Annie Raja, general secretary of the National Federation of Indian Women, commented on the incident and said that these village councils destroy what women’s rights stand for.
“They are dead set against giving basic human rights to women,” she said. “These are non-constitutional bodies and the West Bengal government should take stringent action against them.”