8 policemen suspended, 16 arrested after woman thrashed, paraded naked in Bihar
Patna: Aug. 21 -- Sixteen people, including an alleged RJD activist, have been arrested on charges of thrashing, stripping and parading a woman naked in Bihiya town of Bihar's Bhojpur district on Monday, police said on Tuesday, as the opposition demanded President's rule to get rid of the "jungle and monster raj" in the state.
According to officials, eight policemen have also been suspended for dereliction of duty.
"We have arrested the 16 persons on the basis of video footage made available to us by local sources. A special team has been formed to probe the incident afresh. We are trying to find out if there were vested interest groups behind the incident," Bhojpur's superintendent of police Awakash Kumar said.
"The policemen who have been suspended include Bihiya SHO (station house officer) and Ara GRP SHO," he added.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal's block president, however, declined Kaushal Yadav was associated with the party.
The woman was assaulted by a mob, which suspected her to be involved in the death of a 16-year-old boy, police said. They said the victim, in her early forties, is a dancer in the red light area of Ara town. The woman was probably attacked as the deceased Bimlesh Kumar alias Chhotu Sao was last seen with her.
According to police, Kumar a resident of Damodarpur village under Shahpur area of Bhojpur district, was allegedly assaulted and killed by some unidentified people in Dafli locality, known as an area of sex workers and for "mujras". His body was later found near Bihiya railway station.
After the news spread, irate residents of Damodarpur gathered in large numbers and started protesting. The protesters suspected that those living in a red-light area nearby would have strangled the youth to death.
The woman was rescued by police and she lodged a complaint against several people, most of whom she could not recognise. She was taken to a hospital from where she was released after first aid.
The incident has once again drawn widespread condemnation from women's groups and opposition parties with many of them demanding President's rule in the state.
The leader of opposition Tejashwi Prasad Yadav said he was numb after watching the "heart-wrenching video clip" of the woman being assaulted.
"What is happening in my Bihar? Today a woman has been beaten up and paraded naked on the road. You (referring to chief minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Sushil Modi) have transformed Bihar into jungle and monster raj," he tweeted.
The state commission for women questioned the police's efficiency and asked what stopped them from protecting a woman, who was being paraded naked on the busy road of the town, in a letter to the director general of police and Patna commissioner and Ara's district magistrate and superintendent of police.
"It's shocking that the incident took place at a crowded market area and there was none to stop it," the commission's chairperson Dilamani Devi said.
Amid pressure mounting from the government for a fair trial and harsh action against the culprits, the entire Bhojpur administration hit the field to conduct a probe into the incident.
Bihiya was quiet on Tuesday and a large number of policemen were seen patrolling the roads. Bhojpur's DM Sanjeev Kumar also reached Bihiya and held meetings with police and locals.