On Tuesday, June 27, a mentally challenged woman in Sekendra village in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district was lynched to death on suspicions of being a child trafficker.
The incident is an addition to the numerous mob lynchings plaguing the country.
The deceased, 42-year-old Otera Bibi, was under psychiatric treatment for over a year and could not have been a child trafficker, the police claim.
She was living with her parents in Mithipur-Panagarh village, about 8 km away from the place of crime, ever since her husband abandoned her due to her illness in 2016, the police added. The family remained unaware of the attack and assumed that Bibi had wandered, as they were used to her disappearing for the night and returning the next morning.
However, on Tuesday morning, she wandered off to Sekendra village and allegedly entered the residence of one Dilip Ghosh. Alarmed by Bibi being close to his minor daughter, he alerted his neighbours. The village had been vigilant since June 21 after 14-year-old Fultushi Ghosh went missing from her home, said the police.
“Two days back she was found in one person’s house. There was a minor girl (about 13-14 years old) in the house who screamed as she was alarmed by the presence of a strange woman in her house. On hearing the screams, the villagers rushed to the scene and started beating Bibi. They thought that she is a kidnapper. After a few hours, the police intervened, but the woman had died on the way to the hospital,” the Superintendent of Police, Lalbagh district, told The Logical Indian.
“We surveillanced the area and collected video footages provided by some locals. Ten arrests have been made so far. We kept investigating until we were sure that these ten villagers were directly involved in Bibi’s murder. The culprits were forwarded to the district court and currently, three of them remain in our custody, while seven are in judicial custody under the District Magistrate. We are getting more names in the ongoing raids in the area,” he added.
Otera Bibi’s murder is one in the series of lynchings that have been taking place in the country. In May last year, at least seven people were lynched to death in Jharkhand after WhatsApp rumours claimed that they were “child abductors” who had infiltrated the area.
The Logical Indian, while commending the district police for speedy action against the perpetrators, strongly decries the lynching of Otera Bibi. She was a mentally challenged woman who was brutally murdered on the basis of a mere rumour. The villagers should have informed the police if they feared that she was a child-trafficker. Taking the law into our own hands is never justified. Lynchings and mob justice are huge threats to a democracy; only by taking strict action against such goons can we ensure that the rule of law is upheld.