A Dalit woman's nose was allegedly cut off and her husband was thrashed by two members of an upper caste family in Madhya Pradesh on Monday for refusing work given by them.
The incident, which took place in Renvjha village of Sagar district, came to light on Wednesday when the woman went to a camp organised by the Madhya Pradesh Women's Commission (MPWC) in the area to hear complaints of violation of women's rights. It was then that she narrated the crime to chairperson Lata Wankhede.
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The woman, who has been identified as Janki Bai, said that Narendra Singh (32) and his father Sahab Singh attacked her husband, Raghvendra. But when she was taking her husband to the hospital, the two accused attacked her.
"They deliberately hit my wife with an axe on the nose," Raghvendra was quoted as saying by the NDTV.
Inspector R S Bagri of Surkhi police station has said that the police were waiting for the medical report to determine the cause of the injury.
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However, the MPWC chief has supported the woman's allegations. He told the media that the accused, who wanted to make the woman and her husband "bonded labourers," had slashed the woman's nose.
Both the accused men are absconding and the police are investigating the case.
The duo has been booked under section 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) of the IPC and also under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
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"We are waiting for doctor's report about the injury to her nose. If the report confirms serious injury to nose and internal injuries, harsher sections will be slapped against the accused," the inspector told PTI.
Meanwhile, an NDTV report has said that the Madhya Pradesh government has termed the case as a dispute between two families.
"There was a conflict between two groups. The fight became violent and they cut off the nose of the woman with an axe. This was not intentional and investigation is going on," state home minister Bhupendra Singh has claimed.