Monday, November 18, 2002

Dalit woman paraded half-naked in Kishanganj

KISHANGANJ: A middle-aged Dalit woman Bharati Devi, wife of Amarnath Das and a resident of Dharmganj locality in the town was allegedly assaulted and paraded half-naked recently.

The trouble is traced to a long-standing but extremely convulated land dispute between two groups who are involved in string of cases and counter-cases.

Kishanganj SP S K Singhal however, dismissed the allegation about her being parading naked as "bullshit and concocted". He nevertheless admitted physical torture and tormenting of the Dalit couple. It was at his instance that an FIR with regard to the case on November 3 had been lodged, he said.

A respected resident of the locality, too, dismissed the story about her being paraded naked. He, who did not want to disclose identity, nonetheless said two groups of the residents had since long locked horns with each other over possession of a big chunk of prime land. He accused them of being "irritants and nuisance" to the area as such. SP Singhal said there was a land dispute between the groups.

Bharati Devi, however, time and again insisted that a group of about eight persons, including some women, forcibly broke open her room on November 3, abused and assaulted her. Afterwards, they caught her by scruff of the neck, dragged her out and "paraded me half-naked with barely a petticoat on". She even gave her statement in writing.

She has also lodged an FIR with Kishanganj PS. No one has, however, been arrested as yet. Two Dalits, Chitnath Mochi and Shivnath Mochi, were settled with 18 bighas of prime land way back in 1959-60 and after their deaths in 1964, this big chunk of land fell into the hands of Kasinath Mochi and cousin sister Mangli Devi who later migrated to Delhi.

Source: The Times of India, November 18, 2002

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