Be it the new anti-rape law or the repeated strictures passed by the apex court about ensuring safety of women, nothing seems to have any impact on the mindset of the Uttar Pradesh cops, who continue to treat the female gender with utter contempt.
A glaring case has come to light in the state capital, where a 16-year-old rape victim was detained and intimidated in Lucknow’s Sarojini Nagar police station for three consecutive days.
She was allowed to return home only after station officer O P Yadav succeeded in compelling her to sign on the dotted line to name her own uncle as her rapist and let the actual culprit go scot-free.
Four months after the incident, the helpless girl has now made a statement before the District Child Welfare Committee, giving out the name of the real culprit, who happened to none other than her own classmate.
The victim was produced before the CWC by leading child right’s non-governmental organisation Saaksham Foundation on April 12 following a complaint made by the minor alleging severe police torture, illegal detention at the police station by Yadav.
She also described how she was pressurised by the cop to name her uncle Naval Pratap Singh as the culprit instead of her classmate who had abducted her at gunpoint and raped her for two days at his house at Banthra on the outskirts of Lucknow on December 13, 2012.
The girl was abducted because she dared to complain against her classmate, who had been stalking her and making obscene suggestions for sometime. The girl’s complaint led the school to expel the boy, following which he chose to teach her a lesson.
He forced the girl into his empty home while his parents were away and repeatedly raped her on gun-point. Having lost her parents in a car accident when she was an infant, the girl was brought up by her uncle and grandmother, who approached the police station after the girl did not return home.
The SO not only refused to register the FIR, but even went to the extent of alleging that the girl must have eloped with someone. “He asked us to first get an age certificate of the girl to ascertain that she was a minor, following which we approached the higher authorities; and it was on their intervention that the FIR was lodged,” said the grandmother.
Two days later, the girl was brought to the police station by the alleged culprit’s father, who was not questioned by the cops. According to the victim, “Instead of questioning the father or the son, the SO kept me under illegal confinement in the police station, where I was threatened and intimidated not to name the culprit; instead he forced me to blame my own uncle, who was now being made to unnecessarily face a trial.”
The CWC is empowered as a juvenile court, as per Juvenile Justice Act 2000 to record a child’s statement to ensure care and protection in cases of violence against a child.
According to Saksham Foundation convenor Anjali Singh, “The CWC will present the minor rape victim’s ‘recorded statement’ before the designated court as also initiate proceedings for a fresh investigation into the case so that the real culprit does not scot- free. ”