Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Rajasthan: In shocking incident, Police drag rape victim from protest site
In another glaring example of how the police in India continues to treat rape victims with insensitivity and brutal force, a viral video shows how the Rajasthan police dragged a rape victim from a protest site. We have shared a YouTube link of the video above.
According to a report in Hindustan Times, the victim filed a rape case against one Vasudev Sain in December last year, but no action was taken, her counsel Sadanand Bishnoi told the paper. The woman had then launched a sit-in protest outside the office of the sub-divisional officer in Jalore, some 390km away from Jaipur, says the report. Eight days ago, she went on an indefinite fast, according to the report, and that's why the police decided to drag her away to the hospital.
According to the report, "deputy superintendent of police Sunil Panwar and some policemen went to the spot and dragged the woman and her mother for a few metres," before they were put in a police vehicle. When asked by the paper why they chose to act in such a brutal manner, the police said it was because of the woman's failing health. They also justified the lack of female staff saying that due to panchayat elections, there was a shortage of staff.
According to Supreme Court guidelines, only a lady officer can arrest or handle a woman. Male police officers can't even arrest women, let alone drag them. In all, the police really have a very filmsy defence in this case.
The victim has also alleged that the accused is close to BJP MP Devji Patel and "has also been elected sarpanch of Bhadwal village in Jalore district," says the HT report. Interestingly, the report adds that "the Superintendent of Police Kumar" said that the woman's brother called the rape case a false one.
While the veracity of such claims is still under doubt, one thing is clear. The job of the police is to determine whether or not rape took place, instead of dragging and bullying the victim.
As far as brutality against rape victims is concerned, this is hardly an isolated or one-off incident. In 2011, in Uttar Pradesh, police decided to jail a rape victim who decided to file a case against BSP MLA Purshottam Dwiwedi. The victim was kept in lock-up for 32 days.
In 2012, in Uttar Pradesh, a rape victim had alleged how she was also raped by the inspector in charge of the police station where she had lodged her complaint. In December 2012, a teen in Punjab committed suicide due to police apathy in her rape case. She had been gangraped and every time she went to the police with regard to her case, she was humiliated and asked embarrassing questions about the incident.
Ironically the Rajasthan incident comes at a time when India was showcasing the strength of it's women cadets in the army, airforce, and navy at the Republic Day parade. Now the latest incident is a reminder that for many poor women in India, not much has changed.