WHERE IS THE MEDIA?
Inaction, Negligence and Shielding of Accused by District Administration – Says Fact Finding Team Report
June 10, Chhindwara / New Delhi :
On 13th April 2014, a 15 year old mute and handicapped adivasi girl was kidnapped and gang-raped, but for more than one and a half months, no action has been taken by the district administration or support of any kind reached the rape survivor. Inaction by the district authorities, police blaming the survivor and her family for the incident and complete suppression of the case and little support from media has not helped the situation.
A fact finding team was constituted by civil society groups to investigate the matter. The team constituted of human rights activist Daya Bai, Advoctae Aradhana Bhargava, Ms Kranti and Ms Jyoti (members of Jan Sahas – Womens rights group, Dewas) and Ms Kanika Sharma (social worker, TISS). The team findings point towards problematic handling and fabrication of the case by the police – such as making it a case of rape by one person, while it is in fact a case of gang rape involving four accused, and violations of legal as well as medical protocols such as subjecting the survivor to the banned ‘two finger test’. The FIR was lodged by the mother of the victim, who is not literate and therefore, the complaint was recorded by police, where on four occasions they have mentioned that the girl is “mand-buddhi” (mentally “slow” or developmentally disabled). However, in course of interactions with the girl,the team found that she understands and remembers everything and tells the same points about the incident each time. Therefore, we feel that this over-stressing on her being “mand-buddhi” and being “unable to tell much specifically” about the incident, has been done to weaken the case.
In course of investigation, the team learnt the identities of the four accused who have not been caught or even considered suspects by the police, thereby pointing out to the complete lack of investigation and action by the police. The fact that one of the accused is son of an ASI and other of Patel, lead us to believe that police is trying to hush up the matter. The team met the SP of the Dsitrict, who initially narrated the police version of girl being mentally challenged but when confronted with our findings, he has promised to change the investigation officer. Meanwhile, the team has also approached the National Commission for Women, who have issued notices to the administration.
Based on the investigation done and facts collected by the fact-finding team, we demand the following:
Regarding the case:
Immediately initiate the procedure for identification of accused by the survivor and arrest them.
Record the statements of the girl again in a sensitive manner. Ensure that she is comfortable while recording the statement or enquiring.
Prepare a map of the location of the crime and record the statements of people living near the two houses
Immediately file the charge-sheet against the four accused. It is a clear case of kidnapping and gang-rape of a minor.
Ensure fast track trail of the case, so criminals are punished and justice is done to the girl.
Regarding efforts for reparation and rehabilitation for the survivor:
Medical help to the survivor
Immediate and rightful monetary compensation
Future security of the survivor. Efforts must be taken for her education