Five women from a non-profit conducting an awareness campaign at a tribal area of Jharkhand were abducted and gang-raped at gunpoint. The men accompanying them have been thrashed. The police said the rapists made a video and used it to threaten the women with exposure if they complained.
The 11-member team, belonging to a non-profit supported by local Christian missionaries, had gone to hold a street play against human trafficking at Kochang in Khunti district, around 50 km from state capital Ranchi.
As the performance was in progress, a group of armed men came on bikes, beat up the men and took away the women at gunpoint. They were released in the jungle three hours later. The two nuns who had accompanied the women, however, were released unharmed.
After being threatened by the men, the women did not inform the administration about the incident. The officials were tipped off by sources, reported news agency Press Trust of India, quoting local police officer Ashwini Kumar Sinha.
The police have detained nine persons for questioning and a medical board has also been formed, the police said. Medical examination has confirmed rape and a case has been filed. Mr. Sinha said three teams have been formed to investigate the matter and arrest the culprits.
Reports from the area say the men involved are supporters of Pathalgadi — a tribal system under which the people govern themselves according to the tribe’s rules and do not recognize the state’s authority. They argue that the Constitution has given them the right to practice their own systems.
The name Pathalgadi is related to the huge stone slabs inscribed with ancestral names that are preserved by the villagers.
Outsiders, including the police and government officials, are not allowed in these villages without permission.