West Bengal: ‘Mentally ill’ woman assaulted on suspicion of being child-lifter in Jalpaiguri

The woman is a resident of Hooghly and had come to Jalpaiguri’s Dhupguri area by train. She had also been facing trouble in her marriage due to her condition, said police.

A mentally ill tribal woman was brutally assaulted by a mob on suspicion of being child-lifter in Barogharia gram panchayat area of Jalpaiguri district Monday, said police. A suo motu case has been registered by police under IPC section 307 (attempt to murder). However, no arrests have been made yet.

According to the police, the woman, who is in her mid-forties, is a resident of Hooghly and had come to Jalpaiguri’s Dhupguri area by train, after which she reached Barogharia by foot. She had also been facing trouble in her marriage due to her condition, they added.

“She is mentally ill. So far, she has revealed that her husband had shaved her hair. She was not properly dressed. While she was roaming the streets, someone suddenly called her a child-lifter and soon, a mob of about 30 people surrounded her and she was brutally beaten up,” said a local police officer, adding that they rushed to the spot and rescued the woman after being informed by a local resident.

“It is so unfortunate that people nowadays target the weak to vent their frustration. The woman received stitches on her head. She could only tell us her address, we have informed the local police there. We will also record her statement before a magistrate,” the officer added.

Superintendent of Police, Jalpaiguri, Amitava Maity, said, “We are investigating the incident and have taken the woman into our custody.”

Meanwhile, a large contingent of police has been deployed in the area. Police are trying to trace the accused using photos and videos gathered from local residents.

In August last year, a similar incident had taken place in Dhupguri. Two persons suspected to be cattle thieves were lynched by villagers.

“In the last one year, more than 150 programmes have been organised to make people aware against mob lynching. However, people still believe rumours,” said a police officer.

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