Indian Muslim girl tied to tree, flogged ‘for falling in love with Hindu boy’
A Muslim girl was tied to a tree and flogged mercilessly by a group of villagers in India’s Bihar state earlier this week for eloping with a Hindu boy.
The young girl, daughter of Mohammad Farid Ansari from southern Bihar’s Nawada district, had fallen in love with Rupesh Kumar, son of Arjun Rajvanshi, while both were studying in a local government school.
Reports said when the girl’s parents came to know about these affairs, they stopped her going to school and also warned against meeting the youth from other religion but she continued meeting the boy.
On September 30, she finally eloped with her boyfriend, much against the wishes of her family. After three days of extensive searches, she was recovered from a neighbouring village on Thursday although the boy fled the scene.
Subsequently, her family members brought the girl along to their Jogia-Maran village which was soon followed by a hurried-convened village court. The court found the matter too serious and ordered for thrashing the girl in public, witnesses said.
Soon the girl was tied to a tree and badly thrashed by local villagers until she fell unconscious. She remained tied for about five hours before the local police could reach the spot and rescued her.
“I love the boy and will marry him come what may. I am ready for any punishment,” she told the media.
She said she is an adult and can well decide about her future. “I don’t believe in castes or religions. I am 19-year-old and can well decide whom I should marry, whom I should not,” she asserted.
The police are investigating the case. “We have registered a case in this regard and raids are on to arrest the accused persons,” local sub-divisional police officer Sanjay Kumar said on Saturday.
The girl’s father said he wanted to marry his daughter to a suitable boy from their own community but she slipped out of the home with some excuses when there was no power at night and ran away.
‘Love’ is still a taboo in conservative Bihar, and quite many who have defied the existing social order have paid with their lives, banished from their villages, imposed heavy fine or served other crude punishment.
In December 2017, a love pair from two different castes was ordered by a local village court to leave their village for falling in love. The couple who hailed from the same village under Bandara block in north Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district had only recently fled home and had been living together as husband and wife but the local villagers strongly objected to their act.
In October the same year, two women related to each other were killed and their bodies hanged from a tree in the same Muzaffarpur district allegedly for falling in love. In September, a woman was lynched while her boyfriend was blinded in Araria district for a similar reason. In June, a teenage boy was badly beaten up, tortured and then left in an isolated place and wrapped in coffin clothing in Bhojpur district, but luckily he survied. The reason was similar.
A horrible story also came from Bhagalpur district where a local village court ordered to shoot dead a boy for falling in love with a girl.
In another bone-chilling incident reported from Gaya district, a teenage girl and her boyfriend were badly beaten up, strangled to death and then burnt on the same funeral pyre for falling in love in 2015.
An equally horrific incident took place in 2008 when a 15-year-old boy was thrashed, paraded through the streets with his head shaved and then thrown under the wheels of a running train for daring to write a love letter to a girl from a different case. The incident took place in Kaimur district.
Social scientists say these incidents are indicative of the fact that the society is not ready to change and that it still gives due preference to the old social custom of arranged marriages.
“The raw treatments of those falling in love or opting for love marriages indicate how ethnic ego still persists quite much and the people are ready to go to any extent to save their honor,” said prominent social scientist Sachindra Narayan who served as a professor at Patna’s AN Sinha Institute of Social Studies.