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Meghalaya woman assaulted by villagers for visiting B”desh during lockdown

Shillong: Fear of COVID-19 led to the assault of a woman in Meghalaya”s West Jaintia Hills district after she allegedly violated lockdown protocol and met her mother in a Bangladesh village on the Indo-Bangla border, police said on Monday.

The incident took place at Bakur village on May 31 when the 29-year-old woman returned to her marital home after her visit to Bangladesh in the middle of May, police said.

The woman”s hair was chopped off by her attackers and she was also threatened ostracisation by them. Two of her attackers were women and the third was the village headman.

The woman filed an FIR against the two women attackers on June 4 and they were arrested the next day. She filed another FIR against the village headman on June 6 and the police is on the look out for him as he is on the run, the district superintendent of police Lakador Syiem said.

The two women were produced before the court and sent to jail custody, he said.

The woman told PTI on Monday that she had gone to a village in Bangladesh located few meters away on the other side of the border to see her mother.

On my return to Bakur I was taken to the police station, tested for coronavirus and underwent 14 days” quarantine in the village, she said.

But for reasons best known to them, a group of women accompanied by the village headman attacked me on May 31, assaulted me and chopped off my hair, she said.

She also alleged that the headman, who was present during the incident, threatened to ostracize her.

The woman also claimed that she has injury marks from the assault on her legs, abdomen, back and neck.

Eyewitnesses claimed that members of Seng Kynthei (women organisation) had chopped off her hair during the attack.

The village headman had allegedly told a Youtuber over phone that the woman was thrashed by women of the village after she was caught red handed breaking protocols while returning from Bangladesh.

As there are many COVID-19 patients in Bangladesh, the village is concerned with her activities, he had said during the conversation with the Youtuber on June 6 before the woman filed the complaint with the police against him.

In the conversation, that was put up on the video sharing online platform, the village headman denied allegation that he had ordered the lynching or made any threat of ostracizing the woman.

The phone call made to Meghalaya Home Minister Lahkmen Rymbui, who is also a local MLA of the area, for his comment on the incident went unanswered. PTI

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