Updated: Thu, 23 Jan 2014 12:45:00 GMT | By PTI/IANS

WB: Kangaroo court 'orders' gangrape of tribal woman

Victim’s family say local leaders ‘ordered’ her gangrape as ‘punishment’ for having an affair with a man from a different community; all 13 accused remanded to judicial custody

WB: Kangaroo court 'orders' gangrape of tribal woman (© Reuters)

Suri (WB): A 20-year old tribal woman was allegedly gangraped at Labhpur in Birbhum district by 13 persons as they were apparently against her affair with a man from a different community.

Police said all the 13 accused have been arrested while the woman is in a very critical condition at Suri Hospital after her rape on Tuesday night.

The woman's family filed a complaint with the Labhpur police station that the incident happened following a meeting by her community leaders who decided to mete out the 'punishment' for her 'crime' of being in love with someone outside her community.

Refusing to give details, ASP Prashanta Chowdhury said "prima facie, she was gangraped and we have rounded up 13 persons. No more details."

The youth with whom the girl reportedly had an affair has also been arrested apart from the 13 locals who have been slapped with charges of gangrape and causing grievous injury to a woman, police sources said. The charges against the youth are not clear.

A section of locals told the media the incident took place after a kangaroo court of tribals gave the shocking 'verdict' but this could not be officially confirmed.

A teenaged tribal girl was paraded naked in the district four years ago for the same reason, which had sparked an outrage in the state and women's organisations were up in arms.

Bengal women's panel orders probe into tribal's gangrape

The West Bengal Commission for Women on Thursday ordered a probe into the gang rape of the tribal woman.

Taking suo motu cognizance of the horrific incident ghat has raised the heckles across the state, it demanded harshest punishment for the perpetrators.

"We have taken a suo motu cognizance of the case and are probing the matter. We will ensure that the perpetrators of the crime, including the tribal headman who ordered the barbarism, is meted out harshest punishment," commission chairperson Sunanda Mukherjee said.

Mukherjee also laid emphasis on the need for sensitising the tribal communities in the state to prevent such incidents.

The woman, who was subjected to the brutality for having an affair with a man outside her community, has been admitted to hospital in a critical condition.

Meanwhile, the 13 accused, including the headman who ordered the barbarism, arrested after a complaint was filed by the victim's family Wednesday night, have been remanded to 14 days judicial custody.

Rraids are reportedly being conducted in and around the village to find if more people were involved.

Meanwhile, a medical board has been constituted for her treatment.

"Though her condition continues to be critical, she is stable now. She has lost a lot of blood and only because she is physically and mentally very strong, she could survive the ordeal," Suri Sadar Hospital superintendent Asit Biswas said.

The incident has evoked strong response from several quarters who have demanded stringent and exemplary punishment for the culprits.

"I wonder what kind of times we are living in. How can a few people act as law unto themselves and order such barbarism? What was the administration doing? There is a need to set an example by meting out stringent punishment," famed painter Samir Aich said.

The incident is not the first of its kind in the district.

In 2010, a 15-year-old tribal girl was forced to parade naked through villages in the same district for daring to fall in love with a boy from another community.

The girl, a resident of Battala village, was stripped and forced to walk naked through four villages, and her pictures were taken and circulated through MMS.

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