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Police avert 'Anarkali' punishment for farmer's daughter

Land dispute makes Koderma villagers take law into their own hands

Vishvendu Jaipuriar Hazaribagh Published 05.06.21, 05:08 PM
Sulekha Kumari after being rescued by police in Koderma on Saturday.

Sulekha Kumari after being rescued by police in Koderma on Saturday. Picture by Vishvendu Jaipuriar

The tragic story of Anarkali has inspired writers, musicians, playwrights and filmmakers for generations. Legend has it that Mughal Emperor Akbar had punished her by arresting and entombing her within a wall of his palace for having an affair with his son prince Jahangir.

Cut to 2021, a 19-year-old girl was given a similar punishment by a group of villagers who were having a dispute with her father over a piece of land. However, Sulekha Kumari was luckier than Anarkali. The daughter of a farmer in Yogiatilha village of Koderma district was saved as police stepped in .


Police said Sulekha's parents went to a nearby village to attend a grih pravesh function on Friday. Taking advantage of the situation, Shankar Pandit, Vinod Pandit, Manoj Pandit, Birbal Pandit, Usha Devi, Gayatri Devi, Manisha Devi, Meena Devi and Savitri Devi, reached their house in the afternoon and caught Sulekha who was busy taking care of her cows.

They locked her in a room and constructed a wall to block the room's door. After that they also constructed a wall covering the main entrance of Sulekha's house. Sulekha’s cries for help went in vain as the villagers left the premises with her trapped inside.

A villager informed the Jai Nagar police of the incident. Sulekha's father, Kishore Pandit, also reached the police station and requested immediate action. A team led by assistant sub-inspector Rajendra Rana reached the house on Friday evening and rescued her.

Sulekha was taken to a nearby health centre where doctors provided her the required treatment. Rana said they got information on time, and that saved her life. Her father Kishore said he had won the land dispute case but the opposing villagers were not ready to accept the verdict.

On Friday, some villagers pelted stones at the house. Police have managed to arrest one of the accused Savitri. The rest of the villagers were missing.

Officer-in-charge of Jai Nagar police station, Mohammad Abdullah Khan said it was a serious matter and police were not going to spare the culprits.

“We are taking the appropriate action to arrest the missing ones,” he added.

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