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Village heads worried

Jan. 25: Morols of neighbouring areas have closed ranks behind Balai Maddi, the Subalpur headman who allegedly ordered and led a gang rape, and will meet within seven days to discuss ways to “protect” the institution of the village head.

These morols, many of whom believe Balai has been framed, had earlier decided to meet at a club in Subalpur tomorrow but were denied permission by police.

The Bharat Jakat Majhi Maroa, a social organisation of tribals, will hold a meeting in Kaderpur, 40km from Subalpur, tomorrow with teachers, writers and government employees from the tribal community to discuss the alleged gang rape and their future action.

In the past few days, the Bharat Jakat Majhi Maroa had distributed leaflets in villages neighbouring Subalpur and spoken to their morols, asking them to meet and discuss ways to counter the possible fallout of the allegation against Balai.

The morol of a village 9km from Subalpur today said: “Balai could not have ordered the gang rape. We are sure there was a conspiracy to frame him. Nobody will now have any faith in morols. We don’t know what is in store for us.”

The morol said the allegation against Balai had given a bad name to village heads. “The entire country is thinking that the morol (Balai) is the main culprit. The truth will be decided in court. But we fear that villagers will no longer respect us,” he said.

Most male residents fled Subalpur early today after the police conducted raids in the village and sought information on the 13 accused they have arrested.

“Every night, the police are coming to our village and asking questions. The menfolk have fled the village,” said an elderly Hena Maddi.

Opel Mandi, who is associated with the Bharat Jakat Majhi Maroa, said: “Like most morols, we believe that a conspiracy was hatched against Balai.”

Buddha barb

Former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today said there had been an “alarming rise” in crimes against women but the state government was not taking necessary steps.