A TEENAGE girl has died after allegedly being savagely beaten following a row with her grandparents over her wearing jeans during a religious ritual.
Neha Paswan, 17, was thrashed with sticks and rods by members of her extended family in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India, reports say.
Mum Shakuntala Devi Paswan said her daughter had been thrashed with sticks by her grandfather and uncles following a row over her clothes at their home in the village of Savreji Kharg in Deoria.
Neha’s mum told the BBC: “She had kept a day-long religious fast. In the evening, she put on a pair of jeans and a top and performed her rituals. When her grandparents objected to her attire, Neha retorted that jeans were made to be worn and that she would wear it.”
The senior members of her family had objected to her wearing jeans and “western clothes” which they saw as “inappropriate”, wanting her to put on more traditional clothing.
She claimed the argument escalated and resulted in the violence.
The mum added that while her daughter lay unconscious her in-laws called an autorickshaw and they took her to hospital.
She said: “They wouldn’t let me accompany them so I alerted my relatives who went to the district hospital looking for her but couldn’t find her.”
The following morning Neha’s mum heard that a body of a girl was hanging from a bridge over the Gandak river.
NEHA’S BODY HANGING FROM BRIDGE
When the family went to investigate they discovered it was Neha’s.
A case of murder and destruction of evidence has been lodged against 10 people by the cops.
The accused include Neha’s grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and the auto driver.
The autorickshaw driver is accused by police of trying to dispose of the body.
No public statement has been made by any of the accused so far.
Shriyash Tripathi, a senior police official, confirmed to the corporation that four people – including the grandparents, an uncle and the auto driver – had been arrested and were being questioned.
He said the police were still looking for the others that had been accused.
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Women’s Aid has this advice for victims and their families:
- Always keep your phone nearby.
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- If you are in danger, call 999.
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- Always keep some money on you, including change for a pay phone or bus fare.
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- Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – email@example.com.
Women’s Aid provides a live chat service – available every day from 10am-6pm.
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Neha’s dad, Amarnath Paswan, a construction site worker in Ludhiana, had returned home to deal with the tragedy, said he had worked hard to be able to send his kids to school.
Neha’s mum said her daughter had wanted to become a police officer, but “her dreams would never be realised now”.
Shakuntala Devi claimed her in-laws had been putting pressure on Neha to drop her studies at school and often told her off for wearing anything other than traditional Indian clothes.
Photos of Neha show the teenager liked to wear modern clothes, with one of her wearing a long dress while in another she can be seen in a pair of jeans and a jacket.
Violence against women and girls in India is deeply embedded in a male-dominated society, according to campaigners, and often sanctioned by family elders.
WIDESPREAD DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Domestic violence is widespread in the country with, on average, 20 women killed every day for not bringing in sufficient dowries.
The situation is worse in rural areas for women as they are often forced to live under severe restrictions imposed by the village leaders or male heads of the family, which can include where they can go, who they speak to and what they wear.
Brutal punishments can be handed out for any perceived infraction.
A disturbing video emerged last month from Alirajpur in the neighbouring state of Madhya Pradesh which showed a 20-year-old woman being beaten by her dad and three male cousins.
Cops lodged a complaint against the men and said she was being “punished” for running away from her “abusive” marital home.
A week before that incident two girls were beaten up by members of their families after they had been talking on the phone with a male cousin.
Disturbing footage of the incident showed one of the girls being dragged by her hair, thrown to the ground, kicked, punched and beaten with sticks and wooden planks by her parents, brothers and cousins.
Gender activist Rolly Shivhare said: “It’s shocking that in the 21st Century, we are killing and assaulting girls for wearing jeans or talking on a mobile phone”.
She added: “The government says girls are our priority and announces grand schemes for their welfare, but nothing happens on the ground.
“The shelter homes and crisis centres in India are few and most are so badly run that no-one would want to go live there. Our government needs to allocate more funds and improve their condition.
“But the only long-term solution is to make girls more aware of their rights.”
View more information: https://www.the-sun.com/news/3359132/girl-beaten-hanged-bridge-jeans-india/