“They hit me with bricks and sticks…stripped me, blackened my face, chopped off my hair… put me on a donkey. I had no idea what they were doing to me,” said the woman, who doctors say, is still in shock.
The incident took place on Saturday evening in Rajsamand in south Rajasthan, where most villages defer to community councils or panchayats that are kangaroo courts with no legal status.
The woman’s sister-in-law had reportedly told the panchayat that her husband, who died on November 2, was murdered by her. The group allegedly pronounced the woman guilty, thrashed her and ordered her public humiliation though she kept pleading innocence.
39 people, including nine from the woman’s family, have been arrested after her husband and son went to the police.
“The incident occurred at around 9 pm on Saturday. We have arrested 39 people under various sections of the Indian Penal Code in this regard and have provided security to the woman’s family,” Sudhir Joshi, a senior police officer told Indo-Asian News Service.
“We have shifted the woman to a shelter where she is undergoing counseling as she is in a state of shock,” he added.
The accused have reportedly been booked on various charges including criminal intimidation and extortion.
The Rajasthan High court had ordered action against such community panchayats but in large parts of rural Rajasthan, their diktats are law.
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