Raiganj, March 13: A Trinamul leader and his family allegedly cut off the hair of a lady and her aunt in a village in North Dinajpur, blaming the younger lady of tarnishing his daughter’s name.
The victim, a 20-year-old who lives with her mother, was about to get married in April but the alliance is now in doubt as the groom’s side has postponed the wedding following the alleged assault and harassment on March 9.
The lady’s aunt has been barred by her husband from entering her home.
Four of the nine named in the FIR lodged by the 20-year-old lady’s uncle have been arrested. All the arrested are women and related to Asanu Mohammad, the Trinamul leader who stays in a village neighbouring the girl’s. The four were granted bail by a court.
Asanu and his brothers-in-law, also named in the FIR, are absconding.
The village where the girl stays with her mother is a small CPM pocket — the gram panchayat is with the party — but is surrounded by villages where Trinamul holds sway. The girl’s aunt also lives in the same CPM-dominated village.
Today, the younger woman was found at home with her head wrapped with a dupatta. After a while, she removed the dupatta, baring a head that showed tufts of hair had been chopped off roughly.
She said that early morning on March 9, Asanu, his wife and daughter arrived from their neighbouring village and called her out. “They wanted to know why I was spreading canards about his daughter. Believe me, I had done nothing of the sort and I did not know their daughter. My mother was also pushed to the ground by Asanu’s wife and daughter. They beat me up and dragged me by the hair into their house.”
She said her hands and feet were tied with ropes and she was pushed into a room and locked up. “After a while, they opened the door and I was brought out. I saw Asanu, his three brothers-in-law and my aunt, whom they had forcibly brought there, in the courtyard. They beat up my aunt when she tried to defend me. Then they cut off my hair. I pleaded with them not to cut my hair as my wedding was next month. Cutting my hair would bring me shame. I told them to break my arms and legs instead. They began cutting my hair and when my aunt protested, they grabbed her and did the same thing to her,” the young woman said.
The lady and her aunt were then turned out of the house.
The young woman said the members of the family of her prospective groom had come to know about the incident.
“The next day, members of my would-be husband’s family came to us and said they were putting off the wedding for now and left,” she said.
The 47-year-old aunt has a 17-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter. She was stopped from entering her house by the husband and is spending nights in the open.
Her husband said he was not allowing her to return home as she had been “tainted.”
“Other men cut my wife’s hair and she has been tainted and I cannot take her back. Moreover, I fear that Asanu and his men might attack me if she is home,” the farmer said.
Smita Pandey, the North Dinajpur district magistrate, said she was “shocked” by the incident. “I have asked the block development officer and the police to carry out counselling in the village so that the women are accepted by the society,” she said.