A teenager in West Bengal was ordered to lick spit by a village kangaroo court allegedly led by a woman councilor of the ruling Trinamool Congress.The girl refused, and on Tuesday morning, her naked body was found near railway tracks not far from her home in Dhupguri in Jalpaiguri district.
Her family has filed an FIR or police complaint alleging rape and murder, and named 13 people, including the husband of the councilor, Namita Roy. One man has been arrested and two held for questioning.
The girl, said to be around 15, was last seen protesting when her father was being beaten up on the orders of a “salishi sabha” or self-appointed village court, which decided he should be punished for not paying for a power tiller he had rented.
When the girl tried to stop villagers from thrashing her father, the ‘court’ allegedly turned on her. She vanished after the incident. Hours later, her body was found near the tracks, her clothes scattered around.
Ganesh Prasad, who spotted the body, said, “At 8.15 a.m. I saw a dead body. I have not seen anything this like before. If bodies come under a train, they are in pieces but with clothes on. In this case, only the shoulder was covered by a cloth.”
The villagers who allegedly harassed the teen claim she committed suicide. Disputing this, the girl’s uncle said the villagers had threatened her openly.
“My brother-in-law was beaten up and my niece protested. They threatened her. If she committed suicide, why was she without clothes? I think they raped and then killed her,” he said.
The man her father owed money to, Anil Barman, is the only one to be arrested till now.
Village elders hold sway in many Indian villages and often act as a parallel legal system, settling disputes and handing down judgements.
The Trinamool has denied any involvement in the death, but the incident has already taken a political turn. Student activists of the rival CPM are protesting in colleges and villagers blocked roads late last night.