Alipurduar, May 23: A 50-year-old woman was tied to a tree and beaten up by a mob that suspected her to be a child lifter at Dhulagaon near Falakata this evening.
Saraswati Devi, who reportedly suffers from spells of memory loss, was rescued by police and admitted to the rural hospital in Falakata.
Saraswati , a resident of Laskarpara in Kumargram, was on her way to her daughter's residence at Dhulagaon, about 75km away. She had got off a bus and was walking to her daughter's house around 6pm. Saraswati had purchased fruits for her daughter and grandchildren.
The police said Saraswati had met a group of children on the way and began distributing the fruits to them. "The local youths suspected that the woman was luring the children with fruits to abduct them. They tied her to a tree and began beating her up. One of the villagers untied her and tried to take her to his home but the youths went on thrashing the woman," said an officer at Falakata police station.
The police received the information about the incident and reached the spot around 6.30pm. "We could see a crowd of about 150 people, including women. They refused to hand over the woman to us. But we managed to rescue her and took her to the Falakata rural hospital and admit her there," said the police officer.
Asked if anybody had been arrested, he replied in the negative. "The eight-member force was heavily outnumbered and our priority was to rescue the woman."
Dhulagaon is 45km from here.
Saraswati said she had meant no harm when she gave fruits to the children. "When I met children on the way, I wanted to give them fruits. The people thrashed me mercilessly," she said.
Saraswati's husband, Sudhangshu Das, said she had spells of memory loss. "But she has improved a lot after treatment. I am on the way to Falakata to bring her back. The villagers acted brutally and senselessly," Das said when contacted on his mobile phone.
Das runs a small grocery at Laskarpara.