A shocking incident has emerged from Rajasthan’s Dausa district a 54-year-old police sub-inspector (SI) has been suspended and arrested for raping a 5-year-old Dalit girl. The suspension comes amidst a flurry of political targeting as the BJP lashed out at the Congress government and criticised the law-and-order situation denouncing the government’s reported inaction at the safety of women in the state. The village of Lalsot also witnessed large scale protests after the father of the girl was beaten when he went to file a complaint at the police station.
The accused SI, who has been identified as Bhupendra Singh, was taken into custody on Friday, by the Rajasthan Police. Superintendent of Police Vandita Rane confirmed the accused’s suspension on X in a statement released on Saturday, November 11, stating, “We have suspended the officer immediately after his arrest. He is being questioned, and further investigation is underway.”
#WATCH | Jaipur, Rajasthan: On the alleged rape of a minor girl by police personnel in Dausa, Vandita Rana, Dausa SP says, ” As per the complaint received, FIR has been registered and probe is being done…the police officer was suspended yesterday and he will be arrested… pic.twitter.com/uqRGBv3k1z
— ANI (@ANI) November 11, 2023
The incident unfolded in Lalsot, where the accused SI was reportedly on election duty. The officer reportedly lured the young child with the promise of 50 rupees and then took her to his rented apartment, which he shared with another officer, and proceeded to rape her. The child went home and reported the incident to her parents.
As news of the incident spread, the tension and anger escalated as news, leading to a massive protest by villagers outside the local police station. The enraged crowd reportedly resorted to beating the accused man, who had locked himself in a room at the police station after he heard that there was a crowd outside enraged at his reported actions.
SI ने किया 4 साल की बच्ची से रेप, लोगों ने सरेआम पीटा
◆ घटना राजस्थान के दौसा की है
— News24 (@news24tvchannel) November 11, 2023
Amid the escalating public anger and growing unrest, the Rajasthan Director General of Police took immediate action, ordering the dismissal of SI Bhupendra Singh from the police service.
Reactions from politicians
The Bharatiya Janata Party has jumped at the opportunity to criticise the Congress-led government in the poll-bound state and has used the violence incident of rape as evidence of a deteriorating law-and-order situation in the state.
BJP leader Ramcharan Bohra says, “The way incidents of rape are increasing for the last 5 years, the law-and-order situation is collapsing in the state…The time has come to remove the current government in the state.”
#WATCH | On the alleged rape of a minor girl in Rajasthan’s Dausa, BJP leader Ramcharan Bohra says, “The way incidents of rape are increasing for the last 5 years, the law and order situation is collapsing in the state…The time has come to remove the current government in the… pic.twitter.com/PkN6ggrH5Y
— ANI MP/CG/Rajasthan (@ANI_MP_CG_RJ) November 11, 2023
Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma has also given his statement on the incident, commenting on the role of the Congress and its leadership, “In Rajasthan, everyday atrocities are happening against minor girls and such cases keep coming. Ashok Gehlot’s government has failed completely.”
In turn, former Union Minister and Congress leader, Jairam Ramesh has accused the BJP of engaging in polarisation tactics in Rajasthan as “they do not have any other issue.” He further asserted to PTI that “…As far as crimes against women are concerned, immediate action is taken against the accused in the state.”
In response to the incident, the ANI has reported that Priyank Kanoongo, Chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), has also expressed deep concern and promised swift action. Describing the incident as indicative of systemic insensitivity, Kanoongo stated, “We have taken cognizance of this… We are releasing a notice to the Rajasthan government…This shows how insensitive the system has become… We are taking action as per the preliminary information we received.” Furthermore, Kanoongo recommended sensitivity and adherence to child rights during the investigation, and has also mentioned the need for providing security to the parents and for counselling for the victim.
Violence against Dalits
According to the data presented in the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report, crimes or atrocities against Scheduled Castes witnessed a 1.2% increase in 2021, totaling 50,900 cases as compared to 50,291 cases in 2020. In this record, Rajasthan had the second highest number of reported incidents at 14.7% (7,524 cases).
The most recent data from the NCRB reveals that there has been an alarming 45 % surge in reported cases of rapes involving Dalit women from 2015 to 2020. The statistics indicate an alarming average of 10 reported cases of rapes against Dalit women and girls per day in India during this period, according to a story by Al Jazeera.
Similarly, according to the Al Jazeera, a report by the Dalit Human Rights Defenders Network (DHRDN), Tata Institute of Social Sciences, and the National Council of Women Leaders (NCWL), has highlighted that in several cases of violence against Dalit women an FIR is filed only after the involvement of pressure tactics by NGOs and activists. Furthermore, on average, the report suggests that the process of registering an FIR might take up to three months. The report concludes that even though the registration of an FIR is a tedious process, it is never a guarantor that justice will be delivered in such cases.