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'16 days of activism' campaign flagged off in Silchar with the story of Sumana Roy who was gangraped by her in-laws

The UN Women’s official webpage has turned Orange. “Orange The World.” November 25 is globally considered as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Every year on November 25 an international campaign, “16 days of activism against gender-based violence” is flagged off.

All around the world, the campaign was flagged off in Silchar too. Deputy commissioner, Laya Madduri flagged off the campaign which will go on till December 10, 2019. ‘One Stop Centre’ and ‘Seva Kendra Silchar’ also associated to support the initiative.

While the deputy commissioner flagging off the campaign was a great move to generate awareness, the story of Sumana Roy left everyone shocked with goosebumps.

Sumana Roy, a resident of Purnimukh Village in Cachar got married to Dinesh Chandra Deb. Deb is 20 years older than her and is employed at BRTF. “We were struggling to sustain our livelihood and thus I had to drop out of education after passing class XI and get married.”

Immediately after marriage, her husband got transferred to Ladhak and she shifted. Roy took us through her journey which was inhuman at best and barbaric at worst. She got pregnant within a month of her wedding and she says that irked her mother-in-law. “They started beating me, all they would say is abort. They used to torture me in order to get my pregnancy lapsed,” Roy recalled.

She got an abortion done and within two months she was pregnant again. The family resorted to similar pressure tactics. This time she said she was more determined. Meanwhile, her father expired and she had to rush to her parental home. That is when her husband abandoned her. “A pregnant lady who just lost her father is left without husband’s support,” she said remembering those days.

She gave birth to a baby girl who died within three months of her birth due to lack of proper care and medical attention. Soon after that, her husband took her back with him to Tezpur where he had got transferred. Sumana Roy said she refused to go with him. But then the society and stigma toppled her grit and she agreed. “Hell broke upon me,” she said. Within a month of loosing her daughter Sumana was pregnant again. The torture started again. “This time, my husband and mother-in-law were joined by his friends, nephew, bother and who not.”

The neighbours saw her in a petrified state and immediately lodged a complaint to the Commanding Officer of BRTF in the region. The officer summoned him and he was locked. The family understood the gravity of the situation and tortured her to take her case back.

In 2017, after she became a mother for the second time and her daughter Dipali Deb was a little grown she moved to Narayanpur with her husband and started staying with her in-laws. This time they were not torturing her physically instead they were forcing her to consume a tablet which she says she resisted. A tantrik was called and she was left tied with a rope starving for days. The tantrik, as per Sumana, stuffed ganja (weed) in her mouth and set it ablaze. She said the tantric forced alcohol through her throat and she lost her consciousness. She demystified that it was all done to prove she is mentally retarded which would shut all the legal cases going on against them. They took her to court too but it was shut. Her bad luck!

On April 10, 2017, in front of her toddler, she was gang-raped, again and again, and again by her husband, his brother, brother-in-law, nephew. From Ladhak to Tezpur to Narayanpur, Sumana Roy kept moving everywhere with her husband and kept getting tortured. But today she wants to ensure that what she has gone through no one else must.

On April 12, 2017, after she was gang-raped multiple times she was rescued by her family. A case was filed in Gunghoos Police Station vide P.S. Case No. 72/’17 U/Sec. -498(A)/376 IPC R/w Sec. 4 of D.P. Act

On April 28, 2017, the minor Dipali Deb, who Sumana’s in-laws refused to handover to her was rescued by Lakhipur Police acting on the Order dated 28th April 2017 passed by Sri J.K. Das, Addl. D.M Cachar at Silchar in Case No. 302 (M)/2017. After the intervention of Social Activist, Sanalembi Devi, Sumana got a compensation of Rs 3,00,000 under the Assam victim compensation scheme. The court has also ordered for Rs 7000 Maintainance per month, and protection from her husband.

Today when Sumana shared her story on camera, she looked like a strong woman willing to bring in a change. “16 days of activism against gender-based violence” campaign in Silchar was flagged off with the story of Sumana Roy who has just turned 23 bur already dealt with atrocities of all kinds.

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