Ten villagers were arrested for allegedly tonsuring a woman and assaulting her at a village in Sambalpur district, police said on Friday. The accused suspected the 42-year-old woman of being involved in the death of her daughter’s lover.
The ugly incident occurred at Jayaghant within Dhama police station area on Thursday afternoon. The woman complained to police that some youths dragged her out of her home, shaved her head and blackened her face. They then tied her to a pole near a club, assaulted her and tore her clothes.
“We started an investigation soon after receiving the complaint and arrested 10 villagers involved in the nefarious act,” said a senior police officer in the district.
Sources said the woman’s daughter was having an affair with Sudam Mahananda of the same village. The couple had eloped from the village last month. But Sudam died at Jharsuguda hospital due to illness later. But villagers accused the woman and her family of murdering the boy, and hounded them out of the village. “The villagers had made our lives miserable. We left the village when it became too difficult for us to stay there and started living in another village nearby,” the woman said.
The incident took place when the victim came to her home on Thursday to take some household items. “The villagers dragged me our when they saw me in the house. I cried for help but not a single person came forward to rescue me. Even the women did not make any attempt to restrain the men,” the victim of the mob violence added.
The incident has triggered anger among social activists, who demanded exemplary punishment against the villagers to discourage people from such heinous acts. “It was a totally inhuman act. The villagers have no right to outrage the modesty of a woman. Such incidents should be condemned strongly,” said Arati Panda, woman activist
However, no case was registered under the SC/ST Atrocities Act as both the complainant and accused belonged to the Scheduled Caste, Barla said. Cases were registered against 18 persons and effort is on to nab the others involved in the incident