A group of villagers, led by one Harun Sheikh, in West Bengal’s Malda district allegedly stripped a 33-year-old woman, thrashed her and chopped two fingers off her left hand after her cow ate grains from Sheikh’s fields.
The incident happened at Munnitola village in Malda on Saturday evening. The woman has been admitted to the Malda Medical College and Hospital in a critical state. “Now the goons are threatening us to withdraw the police complaint,” said the woman as per this report. Her son was also injured when he went to save his mother, sources said. The victim’s family lodged a complaint against Harun Sheikh, Lalu Sheikh, Iftar Sheikh, Ahmed Sheikh and 3 three local goons. The suspects are on the run.
“I can’t imagine people can strip my wife and try to kill her. I have already lodged a written complaint against seven persons with police,” the woman’s husband said. “I work as a labourer. When the incident happened, I wasn’t in the village.” Sources said one of the 33-year-old’s cows entered Harun’s field and ate some food grains. After this, Harun caught the cow and beat the animal mercilessly, fracturing two of the animals’ legs.
Police said when the woman found her cow is being thrashed, she rushed to Harun’s field and repeatedly requested him to let the cow go. But instead of listening to the woman, the men pounced upon her and started beating her after stripping her. They also tried to hack her with a sickle. When the woman tried to resist the attack with her left hand, her little finger and ring finger were chopped off.
As the word of the thrashing spread, the woman’s son rushed to the field, only to be attacked by the same men, who hit him on the head with a sickle.
Confusion over victim’s identity
There are conflicting versions in the media about the woman’s identity – while DNA says “The names of the woman and her son were withheld by police.”, the Hindustan Times report quoted above says her name was Ayesha, while Indian Express has given her name as Saifa Bibi! One wonders about the reliability and efficacy of our leading media houses when something as simple and central to a story as the victim’s name itself remains unclear.
But this incident again reiterates the absolute lawlessness which prevails today in rural Bengal. Incidentally, this horrific incident has occurred in the same Kaliachak block of Malda district where deadly rioting had broken out in January this year, when a Muslim mob ‘protesting’ against Kamlesh Tiwari attacked BSF jawans, burnt the local police station, blocked NH-34 and burnt several Hindu temples, houses and shops. Hindu population is said to be only 30% in Kaliachak area.
Hypothetically speaking, if the incident had occurred in Haryana, Gujarat, MP, Maharashtra or Rajasthan (in that order..all BJP-ruled states), and if by any chance the perpetrator were a Hindu and victim Muslim, we could have rest assured that the incident would be reverberating across mass media by now, it would be the topic for all 9 PM news TV debates, the Award Wapsi gang would have gone into overdrive, and it would have also made it to international left-liberal media outlets like NYT, BBC, Guardian etc.
Also, there was another element in this tragic story that is a current favorite of our media – the cow. But alas in this case, the person trying to protect her cow ended up getting brutalized, so there was no ‘juice’ in the story. Otherwise, the leading lights of our media like Shekhar Gupta (ex-Indian Express, ex-India Today and close confidante of controversial Congress heavyweight leader P Chidambaram) are experts at introducing cow politics into any and every incident, as the below example attests –
#BREAKING: Dalit student gangraped for 2nd time in 3 yrs by same 5 men in Rohtak; Victim hospitalised, cops conducting raids to nab accused
— News18 (@CNNnews18) July 18, 2016
While the police and state govt are obsessed with protecting the gau Mata where nobody would think of harming it.. https://t.co/Fetjh82RJ8
— Shekhar Gupta (@ShekharGupta) July 18, 2016
It would be a mistake to believe that our media elites are true liberals, who essentially stand up for the oppressed and weak, wherever they might be. While it is fashionable among the likes of Barkha Dutt & Shekhar Gupta to visit Kashmiri hospitals and highlight the condition of those injured through use of pellet guns by J&K police, the woman who got brutalized in Malda will soon be forgotten – her case will be neglected by our psuedo-liberal media stars because it just doesn’t align with their political agenda.