Really, how safe is India for women!
A woman is reportedly raped every 15 minutes in India and that excludes the rape cases which are unreported. There was a time India was loved and remembered as a country with rich culture. But, a 2018 study by Thomson Reuters Foundation ranked India as the most dangerous place for women. How we are growing and where we’re heading towards!
The continuous rape incidents in the country question the safety of women in India. The whole country is in shock after seeing the barbarity of the Hathras rape case and the way it is being twisted.
A 19-year-old girl from Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, who belonged to a Dalit community was allegedly raped on September 14. Her mother found her naked and with a slit tongue in the fields. And that’s not it. She was strangulated, there are wounds all over her body, her spine was broken, and many fractures were there.
She was first taken to the Chand Pa police station where the victim’s family was humiliated and rejected all the claims made by the family. Initially, she was admitted to the Aligarh Muslim University’s Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital and after observing the deterioration in her condition, she was referred to Safdarjung hospital of Delhi. She lost the battle of life and took her last breath on September 29.
Her body was forcibly cremated in the midnight hours without the consent and presence of her family. The family alleged that they have begged the police and authorities to hand over the body so that they can perform the final rites.
Police registered a case on September 19 and recorded the victim’s statement on September 22. UP police had stated that the victim girl had given three different statements and had not mentioned about rape in the first statement.
The police started the investigation as per the victim’s September 19 statement under Section 307 (attempt to murder) and Section 354 (molestation) of IPC. But further added Section 376D (gangrape) in the matter after victim’s September 22 statement.
The victim has named Sandip Singh, Ramu Singh, Ravi Singh, and Lavkush Singh in her statement. The dying declaration has left everyone in ambiguities that whether it can be the sole basis for convicting the accused or not.
Section 32(1) of the Indian Evidence Act (IEA) states, “a statement by a person – who is conscious and knows that his or her death is imminent – concerning what he or she believes to be the cause or circumstances of such death can be introduced into evidence during a trial in certain cases. A dying declaration is credible and trustworthy because of the belief that a dying person does not lie. This is based on the maxim nemo mariturus praesumitur mentire, that is, a man will not meet his maker with lie on his mouth.”
Counting to be the latest development in the Hathras case, UP government has filed an FIR alleging criminal conspiracy for inciting violence through creating a caste and communal frenzy. As per the UP government sources, they have suspected a conspiracy involving the Popular Front of India (PFI), the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), and mafias to defame the government.
Some audiotapes have also been released claiming it to be a clear conspiracy to defame the UP government
Yogi Adityanath led UP government has constituted a three-member special investigation team(SIT) to probe the allegations posed by the victim’s family. CM Yogi has also recommended a CBI probe into the matter. Taking note of the preliminary inquiry report submitted by SIT on Friday, UP government has suspended four policemen along with one SP.
The suspended officers include Hathras SP Vikrant Vir, Circle Officer Ram Shabd, Inspector Dinesh Kumar Verma, Sub-Inspector Jagveer Singh, and head constable Mahesh Pal for the alleged midnight funeral of the teenager without the consent of her family. The deceased’s brother alleged that police has not informed them about the cremation and didn’t hand over the body to the family to perform her funeral rites.
Following the request made by lawyer-activist Saket Gokhale, Allahabad High Court has taken a suo moto cognizance of the matter and has issued notices to the UP additional chief secretary, state police chief, and Additional Director General of police. The bench has asked the officials to appear before the court on October 12 and the victim’s family is also expected to appear before the court to hear their side of the story.
The UP officials have also ordered a polygraphic and NARCO test for all who are involved in the case, including the accused, cops, and the family of the victim. However, the victim’s family has refused to take the NARCO test.
UP police came out with the forensic findings that no rape happened and she died due to trauma. Uttar Pradesh Additional Director General of Police Prashant Kumar addressed the media about the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) and stated, “No semen has been found in the forensic report. The FSL report has already clarified that there was no rape on the victim. The post-mortem report says the victim died due to her neck injury. FSL report hasn’t found sperm in samples, making it clear that some people twisted the matter to stir caste-based tension. Such people will be identified and legal action will be taken.” However the sample was collected after 11 days of the incident.
All the roads to the victim’s village have been sealed and Section 144 has been imposed in the area. Two prominent opposition leaders, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi were accosted and detained by the UP police while they were on their way to meet the victim’s family.
The case is coming out with unusual events with every passing day. A video got viral where the victim’s father and District Magistrate Praveen Kumar Laxkar can be seen talking. “You need to maintain your credibility. Half of the media people have left and the others will leave by tomorrow but we will be here,” stated DM Laxkar in the video.
National Women Commission took the cognizance of another video and stated that action will be taken against Amit Malviya, Digvijay Singh, Swara Bhasker, and others for sharing the identity of the rape victim, ‘once the rape is established.’
BJP leader Amit Malviya on October 2, shared a video on his Twitter account stating, “Haathras victim’s interaction with a reporter outside AMU where she claimed there was an attempt to strangulate her neck. None of it is to take away from the atrocity of the crime but unfair to color it and demean the gravity of one heinous crime against another.” Disclosure of a rape victim’s identity is prohibited under Section 228A of the Indian Penal Code.
Seema Kushwaha, the lawyer who fought the battle for justice for Nirbhaya, has decided to stand as their legal counsel. She tried to reach out to the family of the victim but was prevented by police to do that.
As per the government-released crime data through NCRB, the crime rate was increased by 7.3 percent from 58.8 percent in 2018 to 62.4 percent in 2019. These statistics show that there is more to do and merely sharing justice hashtags will not make a difference.