A Dalit woman was assaulted, tortured and tonsured, in Jayaghanta village under the Dhama police station limits of Odisha’s Sambalpur district. Locals held her responsible for the death of a youth, police said on Saturday.

Police inspector G. Barla said 10 persons were arrested on the basis of the victim’s complaint.

The 18-year-old daughter of Subidha Buda (45) had eloped with Sudam Mahananda, who is from the same village, on August 11. But Sudam fell ill on the way and was declared brought dead at the government hospital at Jharsuguda.

Holding the woman and her family responsible for Sudam’s death, agitated villagers staged a protest with the body on August 12, demanding a probe into the incident and the arrest of the culprits. They also asked the family to leave the village, the police said.

Buda went to her elder daughter’s place in nearby Baunsura. On Thursday she came back to her house to collect some household goods, when the villagers dragged her out, assaulted her and shaved off her head. However, no case was registered under the SC/ST Atrocities Act as both the complainant and the accused belonged to the same caste, the police said, adding that cases were registered against 18 persons and efforts were on to nab the others involved.