Despite the phenomenal clout wielded by the pro-Hindu outfits and their championing of the "harmonious Hindu social values," Gujarat in western India continues to make waves in crime against women.
A couple of months ago, a woman stripped herself and paraded half-naked to protest the failure of the police to rein in her in-laws who were harassing her in various ways in an attempt to force her parents to cough up more and more dowry. Her husband too had thrown in his lot with them and tortured her, she alleged.
AdvertisementOnly after the media sensation those persecuting her were jailed.
Something or other keeps happening in that extremely conservative society, embarrassing Chief Minister Narendra Modi,who is trying hard to overcome the odium of the orchestrating the anti-Muslim riots of 2002.
The Times of India, a leading English daily, has reported that Usha of Kheda, has landed in the care of a charitable trust in the state capital of Ahmedabad, after undergoing untold miseries at the hands both her parents and her in-laws. Kheda is hardly 35 km from the state capital.
Usha first suffered the humiliation of being sold to an insane man by her father for Rs 40,000 in marriage. Then, two and a half months ago, six men of her husband's family raped and abused her and left her atop a hillock to die.
But the 18-yer-old girl somehow survived the ordeal and landed at a destitute home in Ahmedabad seeking protection and justice.
"They are going to kill me," Usha said, trembling. Her body bears multiple stab wounds inflicted in perversion, reports the newspaper. Usha bears knife marks on her hands, thighs and breasts.
"I was raped by six of my husband's cousins, Bhavesh, Arvind, Ramesh, Ajmal, Soma and Dr Pankaj. I had gone to my husband's house in May this year where Bhavesh made obscene advances on me. When I resisted, they all raped me through the night of May 15," says Usha.
She was later dumped on the Katkuva hill from where was saved by a lady official who happened to pass by and took her to a hospital for medical treatment.
She finally reached the Kasturba Trust in Gandhinagar, where already two other fellow suffers are lodged. Sunita and Kajal, these latter from Vadodara, another neighbouring region, had been tortured brutally by their husbands - their crime they were giving birth only to daughters, depriving the family tree of precious male lineage.
Possibly their idea was to simply drive their women out of the household so that they could marry in peace and pursue their quest for male children.
In a way they seem to have succeeded in their designs. But the women have gone public with their tales of woe. Usha apparently learnt of a way out only through media reports on the Vadadora women.
Usha has filed a police complaint in the Virpur police station of Kheda district. "The police has not taken any action and all of them are roaming free, posing a threat to her life", says Pratima Pandya of Kasturba Trust which will now plead her case in various forums.