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Lady battered and molested over cow

- From Nandigram to Birbhum, barbaric retribution

Tamluk, Oct. 15: A woman in Nandigram was allegedly molested and thrashed by villagers in her house today after a tiff with a neighbour over her cow that had strayed into his field and destroyed crops.

The mother of two was found unconscious in a field 100m from her home with a sari thrown on her. Her neighbours took her to Nandigram block hospital, from where she was sent to Tamluk district hospital.

The woman’s uncle has alleged that Nandigram police refused to register a complaint, insisting they wanted to investigate the matter. “They also told me to take the case to the local panchayat,” he added. The lady’s husband is a contract labourer in Odisha.

East Midnapore district superintendent of police S.K. Jain said: “Nandigram police are yet to receive a complaint. A police force went to the village this afternoon and three persons were detained.”

According to doctors at the Tamluk hospital, the woman had multiple injuries and scratch marks on her private parts.

Surgeon S. Bandopadhyay said: “From the nature of the injuries, it appears she was assaulted. We have advised a CT scan. It is a police case. If they ask us to determine whether she was raped, a gynaecologist will have to see her.”

The local panchayat, which termed the matter “minor”, ruled out the need for a police intervention. “This is a matter of our village and it is a minor affair. We will sort it out ourselves. I have told the woman’s relatives that there is no need to go to the police,” said Sheikh Sahauddin, the chief of the Trinamul-run gram panchayat.

Asked what led to a quarrel between the woman and her neighbour, a farmer said: “One of her cows strayed into the garden of another villager yesterday. There was an argument between them. In the evening, the villager went to her house and abused her, saying she had an illicit affair. The angry woman threw a rope at him.”

Tapan Jana, one of the villagers who took the woman to hospital, said: “Later in the evening, some villagers threatened her with dire consequences.”

According to the woman, around 4.30am, about eight to 10 village youths entered her house.

“Two or three of them entered through the roof by removing the tiles. They opened the door and let the others in. They molested me, punched and kicked me. One of them took me by the hair and banged my head repeatedly against the wall. I became unconscious,” she said.

The woman has two children. Her daughter will appear for Madhyamik next year and stays in a hostel. The lady also has a 12-year-old son whom she had sent to her relatives’ place after the threat last evening.

The woman’s uncle, informed by villagers, went to the police station at 7am.