Lucknow, Sept. 8: In an alleged attempt to grab land, two married women were stripped and paraded on the streets in a remote hamlet at Maharajganj district in Uttar Pradesh on Friday.
A “court” formed by residents of Dhotiahwan village held Indravati and Rabri “guilty” of murdering the head of their family in September.
An overzealous punishment squad immediately carried out the sentence. The women’s hair was chopped, faces blackened and then they were stripped and paraded through the village streets.
A crowd of jeering villagers followed, pelting stones at them. The husband of one of the women, who was present in the crowd, also joined the villagers in heckling the women, before local police rescued them.
“They behaved like animals,” Maharajganj district magistrate R.K. Singh, told The Telegraph. “I myself had seen the two women, almost unconscious because of the torture and in a half-naked stage.”
Police have rounded up 15 of the 19 people accused in an FIR lodged on behalf of the two women.
“The hunt is on for the remaining persons and additional police force has been deployed in Dhotiahwan to avoid further trouble,” Singh said.
According to Maharajganj police chief D.D. Mishra, a group of villagers started a whisper campaign against the two women immediately after the head of their family, Alahe, returned home in an inebriated condition and died on the night of September 3.
Alahe’s daughters accused his sister-in-law Indravati and daughter–in-law Rabri of poisoning him.
Later, in their statement to the police, the victims alleged that some villagers had implicated them falsely “because they want to grab our land”.
Local people, however, claim that the two women had confessed to the “crime” on the evening of September 7, when they were brought before a panchayat meeting convened by the villagers to settle the issue.
“Anything could have happened to them. At least, we should feel relief that the panchayat did not order for their execution or death by stoning,” the district magistrate said of Friday’s incident.