Labelled  ‘witch’, gang-raped by villagers

,TNN | Dec 19, 2013,

RAIPUR: Even as the country paid tribute toNirbhaya a year after the horrific crime in Delhi, another woman was allegedly gang-raped in public at a village in Janjgir-Champa district on Sunday night. The survivor, who belongs to a Scheduled Caste family, was dragged out of her home by a group of 18-20 people, including women, before being beaten up and allegedly gang-raped by the men. She was tagged as ‘tonhi’— woman who practised black magic(witchcraft).

The survivor fell unconscious and reached the police station on Monday, accompanied by her relatives but claimed police refused to register a case. A case was registered on Wednesday after media coverage and intervention of the superintendent of police (SP).

Police said the survivor alleged that some of the accused are influential people in the village and conspired against her because she had once testified as a witness in a local court in a murder case against them.

Talking to TOI, Vijay Agrawal, assistant superintendent of police, Janjgir-Champa said, “The woman has alleged gang rape, harassment, physical assault and branding her as ‘tonhi’ by the group.” Although initial medical tests revealed she had sustained internal and external injuries, it is yet to be ascertained whether she was raped, he said.

In her statement, the survivor alleged she was often warned by some “influential people” to step back from the case and started harassing her after she refused to toe their line. “I was suddenly branded as a ‘tonhi’ (witch) and the locals tried to boycott me. On Sunday, about two dozen people barged into my house, dragged me out by my hair, stripped me in front of the whole village, accusing me of being a ‘dayan’ (witch), and then gang raped me,” she said in her statement.

Agrawal said a police team which visited the village couldn’t trace any of the 18 accused.

 

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