Birbhum tribal leaders deny any gangrape had taken place

Birbhum tribal leaders deny any gangrape had taken place

Tribal leaders in Birbhum district where a 20-year-old girl was allegedly gangraped recently havestuck to the claim that the girl had lied to frame the morol(village headman) and the media was defaming the traditional justice system of the Santhal community.

At least 20 Santhal organizations from different districts came together at Angargaria village in Md Bazar, a tribal-dominated pocket, last Sunday to express their disapproval of the media portrayal of their internal justice system or "Salishi Sabha".

The meeting was organised by the Birbhum district unit of "Bharat Jakat Majhi Maroa" and attended by Santhal leaders, student leaders, intellectuals and also a group of women from Labhpur village where the gangrape took place.

The Santhal leaders said they would start building public opinion in favour of their age-old justice system.

The young girl was allegedly ordered to be gangraped by one such kangaroo court at the Birbhum village.

The Santhal organisations, however, continued to deny that the rape had at all taken place.

Opel Murdy, a leader of the Bharat Jakat Majhi Maroa said, "It is true that the villagers dragged the woman and her fiance from a house where they were caught in a compromising position, but the morol did not hold any court where an order was passed to rape the woman."

He alleged that the government was out to destroy their traditional system of justice and undermine the authority of the morol in their tribal set-up.

He wondered why their justice system was being targeted while the existence of similar systems or personal laws in other communities was not questioned.

He said that the entire tribal community would revolt against the move
Murdy threatened to organize a bigger rally at the village where the so-called rape took place and said that he and other leaders of the community had met the district administration on Monday to express their grievances.

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