Alwar: In a dreadful incident, a 18-year old Dalit woman was gangraped by five men in front of her husband. The incident took place on April 26 around 3pm when the victim was going to Taal Vriksha – a hot water spring believed to hold religious importance. According to the FIR registered at Ghazi police station on May 2, she along with her husband were headed there on a motorcycle from their village, Lalwadi.
The FIR also stated that two of the accused held the man down and thrashed him while the other three raped the woman behind some sand dunes. After which the accused changed places, with the two men who were beating the victim and going on to rape the woman. They also made a video recording of the incident and threatened the victims, by saying that they would “kill them if they complained to the police,” the FIR said.
Speaking at a press conference, Alwar’s Inspector General of Police, S. Sengathir, said that the couple did not initially make a complaint but decided to do so after the video went viral.
The accused have been identified as Indraj Gurjar, Chotelal, Ashok, Mahesh and Hansraj.
A senior police officer, on condition of anonymity, said that according to preliminary investigation, Gurjar had come to his in-laws’ place and met up with his friends, Chotelal, Ashok, Mahesh and Hansraj on the day of the incident. “When Ashok and Chotelal went to the market to buy cold drinks, they spotted the couple passing by. They then called Gurjar, Mahesh and Hansraj and followed them on their motorcycles for a few kilometers and then stopped them.”
On Tuesday, Rajasthan Director General of Police (DGP) Kapil Garg said that five of the accused have been booked and the police have arrested one of them — Indraj Gurjar — while four others are absconding. “We have constituted 14 teams which are searching for the absconding accused, we hope to nab them soon…,” said Garg.
The accused are from the Gujjar caste that dominates the area so a case under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act has been registered against them.
The victim’s family has alleged that the police failed to take timely action due to elections which led to the video going viral. “We were constantly getting threatening calls from the accused who had also taken money from my brother and was blackmailing him for more. We implored the police to take action as we feared they would circulate the video. The police, including officials of the Thana Ghazi police station told us that due to election work, they have less personnel and so asked us to wait till the elections got over,” said the husband’s brother. Adding further, he said, “The police stepped into action only after the video was circulated on social media by the accused….”
Predictably, the police have denied the allegations.“The very fact that we had registered the case and set up teams to arrest the accused indicate we are trying our best to catch the accused. Now since elections are over in the region, we have pressed in more teams to trace the accused,” S Sengathir said.
DGP Kapil Garg, meanwhile, said that Rajasthan is not ‘rapistan’ and the police did not suppress the news of the crime because of the elections.
While the victim and her family are going through a traumatic time, the politicians are not leaving a single chance to target each other and play the blame game to gain brownie points. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders attacked the Congress government on grounds of breakdown in law and order. It further attacked Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who holds the home department, for conspiring to suppress the brutal crime given the elections in the region. At a press conference, state BJP president, Madan Lal Saini, demanded the resignation of Gehlot over the incident.
However, Gehlot condemned the incident and described it as unfortunate. He said, “I’m taking this case seriously, state DGP himself is monitoring the case & culprits will be punished.”
Expressing his commitment to the safety of women, Gehlot said: “The state government is committed for women safety. Nearly a dozen police teams have been formed to arrest the accused and one arrest has been made. The victim and her family are given protection.”
Taking action in the case, the state government on Tuesday removed Alwar SP Rajeev Pachar. The station house officer of Thana Ghazi police station has also been suspended for delay in initial action.
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