Assault, tonsuring of woman at Bakur
HP NEWS SERVICE
Shillong, Jun 30: The Meghalaya High Court has rejected the anticipatory bail application by the headman and secretary of Bakur (Dawki) village who were accused of being involved in the assault and tonsuring of the head of a woman.
It may be noted that on June 4, Kashmir Dkhar has lodged an FIR with the Officer-in-Charge, Dawki Police Station alleging that on May 31 at about 3:35 pm while she was going out for walk and as soon as she reached the road, the village secretary D Donstan Khonglah, Bobby Lamin and Jennyfer Sumer accosted her and started assaulting her. Dkhar also alleged that the three persons later took her to Khasi Pnar School and again assaulted her and cut her hair with a scissor.
Another FIR was filed on June 6 by Dkhar alleging that after recollecting her memory, she remembered that it was village headman Daniel Khongsit who ordered to torture her by cutting her hair and beaten her on May 31. She also stated that Khongsit warned her not to name or file FIR against the other three accused.
Dawki police registered the two FIRs filed by the woman for the purpose of investigation.
The headman Daniel Khongsit, apprehending arrest, approached the Court of Additional District & Sessions Judge, Jowai on June 9 with an application under Section 438 Cr.P.C for grant of pre-arrest bail and the court granted interim bail to him on the same day with certain conditions.
On June 8, village secretary D Donstan Khonglah, approached the Court of Additional District & Sessions Judge, Jowai with an application under Section 438 Cr.P.C for grant of pre-arrest bail and the court granted interim bail to him with certain conditions.
On finally hearing the parties, on June 15 and 16 respectively, the Additional District & Sessions Judge, Jowai rejected the application under Section 438 CrPC for anticipatory bail to both Khongsit and Khonglah. The two then approached the Meghalaya High Court for grant of pre-arrest bail in connection with the case.
In a judgement passed today, the Meghalaya High Court rejected the plea by Khongsit and Khonglah for grant of anticipatory bail.
“In the context of the facts and circumstances of the case and the discretionary powers vested on this court, I find that the petitioners herein have not been able to make out a case for grant of anticipatory bail. In the event, the applications for grant of anticipatory bail are hereby rejected. The interim order passed by this court in its earlier order stands vacated,” Justice Wanlura Diengdoh said in the order.
Justice Diengdoh also observed that prima facie, it appeared that both Khongsit and Khonglah are involved in the incident and being responsible persons and leaders of the community, instead of referring the matter to the police, had taken part in an unlawful act against the woman.
“Peculiar to the society in this part of the country, including the place of occurrence, the shaving of one’s head as a form of punishment or public reprimand has a deep rooted implication leading to a form of ostracisation and a symbol before the community of bearing an immoral character. In the case in hand, the complainant who has been subjected to such a treatment has to bear the shame of such an action inflicted on her. Thus, her modesty has been outraged by such act,” Justice Diengdoh observed.
The judge also cited the report of the Investigating Officer who stated that the woman because of fear of reprisal by the accused person was shifted to the shelter home for women at Swadhar Greh, Umshing, Mawlai Mawroh, Shillong, which is very far from her village, “which implicitly indicates that she is not safe in her own village, while some of the accused persons are at large.”
During earlier hearings of the case in the High Court, Dr. N. Mozika, lawyer for Khongsit told the court that on April 18, Kashmir Dkhar (the complainant) of Bakur village broke the lockdown, in view of the Covid-19 pandemic by willfully roaming in the village in a drunken state and she was intervened by the Seng Kynthei of the village.
According to the lawyer, in order to ensure peace and tranquility in the village, Khongsit, being the headman of Bakur village reported the matter to the police and the district administration. He also stated that on April 30, Dkhar broke the lockdown by roaming outside her house. She was also suspected to have indulged in cross border fishing trade, wherein the petitioner Khongsit reported the matter to the police of Dawki Police Station and she was taken to the police station.
The lawyer also told the High Court that later, in consultation with the nodal officer, the Officer-in-Charge of Dawki Police Station, the doctor of Dawki PHC, village secretary D Donstan Khonglah and a representative of Seng Kynthei decided to keep Dkhar for quarantine at the Community Quarantine Centre at Bakur village. However, on the last day of the quarantine i.e. 14 days, it came to the notice of the volunteers over phone that Dkhar threatened the leaders of the village so as to settle scores with them.
Mozika further told the court that Dkhar has lodged the two FIRs only as an act of revenge against the action of the headman and secretary of the village since the first FIR was filed on June 4, five days after the alleged incident of assault took place, when the police station was located only about 700 metres from the place of occurrence and just a few metres from her house.
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