She watched the mob with vacant dry eyes. Her legs and arms felt heavy .She had been tied up to the tree for more than five hours now .The remains of what were her clothes, hardly enough to cover her body.
She winced as a stone hit her forehead, unable to move .Blood tricked down her tear streaked cheek.
“The bitch” someone shouted from the mob.”Kill her, it will be a lesson for the rest of them “another voice came from behind.
Her first crime -being a woman
second – supposed infidelity
her silence- a sign of her guilt.
The entire village had aided her husband, a drunkard and a man of low reputation.
The tribunal which included her son, husband and father had declared her guilty of a crime she never committed.
The mob was getting hysterical .She stared blankly at her teenage son heading the mob, shouting names, calling people to make this an event that should be engraved in every woman’s heart .She glanced at the half circle in front of her .She shuddered as a flash of blinding pain shot through her head .slowly the mob began to become a blur. The blood began to flow down her body from the gash on her head and tricked down on the pile of stones and small bricks near her feet.
The evening sun slowly turned the sky crimson .The local police stood like mute spectator, rooted to the ground as the “mob justice “continued.
Her husband ,who was besides his son ,came up to the tree where she was tied .He pushed her chin up and looked into the intense eyes of his wife .he quickly pulled away and spat on her dead body .
“Justice is done “He shouted and started walking away.
Soumya’s marriage was arranged by her father .She was hardly sixteen and had protested against it, but was forced to end her childhood and go with a man whom she had never met .She detested it.
Life had been a roller coaster ride since then .From the day she set foot in Rajveer’s house her ordeals started .Not only he sexually ,emotionally abused her ,he drank gambled and visited prostitutes while he was away supplying goods in his truck. He was a shiftless man and often beat her up in bouts of rage.
Her father, whom she had supported all along by working at houses and earning money, had given up on her long back .He too like Rajveer was a sucker for money and did shady deals and small time peddling of drugs .
Soon she became a mother and with that added responsibility, had no time for own self. She led a lonely life, kept to herself and never raised any objections to her husband’s daily abuses .Mainly because she was too exhausted and knew that simple protest would lead to further damage to her body, soul and mind .In silence she suffered.
For the last twelve years Soumya had not been out of her so called home, except for her delivery or on some religious occasion.
The fair was making the villagers dizzy with joy. Her son told her stories of all the fun women were having, of colourful stalls, games and variety of latest fashion clothes.
Soumya’s heart ached as she listened to all this .It took her back to her own child hood when she too would eagerly wait for the village fair and spend a time of her life, doing all that she loved to do. She remembered the last time she went to the fair with her friends and how she had won her favorite silver purse, just before they left the fair .The purse she had proudly carried on her wedding day.
Rajveer was out of town and she decided to take the risk of stepping out of the house with her son.
Her son was overjoyed and so was she .They spent two days at the fair, living the happiest moments of their lives but somewhere inside her, a fear was rising.
She knew the coming days will bring her unimaginable pain ….but she had not expected what really happened after Rajveer returned.
Hell broke loose the moment he came to know the events of last few days .People added spice to the story and convinced him of her involvement with some man who had come with the fair.
The village grapevine took a wicked delight in making up stories and, they reached Rajveer’s ears faster than a forest fire.
His blood began to boil, the fire of revenge and anger began to consume him.
This time he wanted to do something that would make history .Mad with fury he bribed the local policemen, the sarpanch and the other important people of the village.
The silence of her otherwise violent husband petrified Saumya .She knew there was a storm in waiting .Every day she prayed for her life.
She noticed that the father and son spent many hours together, out of the house.
That her son eyed her with a look of contempt and avoided her at all times .Soumya knew something big was on its way .But what?
On that fateful day, she was alone at home; the men had not come home at night .The village panch sent a messenger to summon her at the chupal .There were serous charges against her.
Soumya quietly listened to all the accusation, false witnesses including her own son in mute silence.
The verdict was given .There was no other punishment for adultery, than death.
She was supposed to be stoned at a public place till death.