West Garo Hills: The police said they have arrested the main accused for thrashing the woman

Guwahati:  A woman in a green kurta is seen lying on dusty ground, trying desperately to shield herself from punches and kicks from a group of angry men who stood in a circle about her. One of them, his sleeves rolled up, pulls her hair from behind and then kicks her in the groin as he shouts something at her. Then another man punches her on the face. Not once, but thrice.

All this is seen in a video that was reportedly shot at Meghalaya's West Garo Hills District, some 70 kilometres from the border with Bangladesh.

Taking note of the incident, the Meghalaya police have filed a case on their own and have arrested the main accused. The police said they have formed teams and have fanned out across the district to arrest the other men seen in the video.

"It is a clear case of moral policing. The woman is safe and is being counselled after she went through the ordeal," a police officer said.

The woman, who appeared to be in her early twenties, belongs to the Garo tribal community in the north-east state. The men thrashed her because she was in a relationship with a man who was not from their community, people familiar with the matter said. They said the video was shot two-three days ago, though the police are investigating to find out when exactly the attack on the woman happened.

West Garo Hills is second to East Khasi Hills in the number of crime against women reported to police, the Meghalaya Police's district-wise report on its website shows. One of the state's largest towns, Tura, which is also the constituency of Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, is in the West Garo Hills.

The video of the Meghalaya assault surfaced barely days after another video was found circulating in social media, which showed a 22-year-old woman from the Garo community stripped and thrashed in neighbouring Assam's Goalpara district, 160 km from state capital Guwahati.In the Assam video, the woman standing next to a vehicle can be seen screaming as two men pull her hair and kick her as she tries to make an urgent phone call. Another man is seen recording the harassment on his mobile phone as the woman is hit on her face.

The police said they believe that the assault on the woman and her Muslim companion is a case of moral policing as the men thought the two were in a relationship and decided to take matters into their own hands.