Thursday, January 23, 2014

Yet another gang rape is making headlines in India, but this one has an especially horrific twist: Police say that village elders ordered the assault on a 20-year-old woman who made the mistake of falling for a man from a different tribal group

Thirteen men have been arrested in West Bengal state after the attack. The woman remains hospitalized. The incident began when the woman's boyfriend, who lives in a nearby village, showed up at her house to propose. Other villagers then detained him and formed what police call a kangaroo court. Both he and the woman were tied up and ordered to pay a hefty fine. He did so and was released, but the woman couldn't afford it. Her family quotes a village elder as saying to men watching the proceedings, "Her family could not pay, so go enjoy the girl and have fun." That village elder, reportedly a distant relative of the woman, was among those arrested. In Chowatta, where the attack took place, the residents appear to be unanimous in two seemingly conflicting sentiments: first, the girl deserved to be punished because she "brought disrespect to our community," as one woman puts it; second, they insist that the accused men are innocent.

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