Will the Guilty of the Mewat Rape(s) be Punished?

The gangrape and after, the battle for justice has been long and lonely. The  victim has had to leave home, her husband has lost his job. Their only hope is justice will be swift and exemplary

Mewat ganrape

The memories haunt her daily.  “Din raat bas dimaag mein wahi chalta rehta hai, har waqt dar lagta rehta hai (I keep thinking about it all day, I feel scared all the time).”Married at the age of 15, and a mother by the time she was 18, she has rarely questioned decisions taken by others for her, she says.

Not this time. Gangraped on the intervening night of August 24-25 along with her 14-year-old cousin by four men in Dingerheri village in Haryana’s Mewat district, she asserts, her face blank, “Main bhi ladoongi aur mere pati bhi lad rahe hain… Un sabko phansi ki saza honi chahiye (I will fight and my husband is fighting too. I want the perpetrators to be hanged).”

Since the incident, the 19-year-old has moved to her uncle’s home, along with her mother. “My parents-in-law haven’t talked to me since that night. I can’t go to my village either, as there is all kind of talk. So I have come here,” she says.

It’s a semi-constructed two-storey home, with a few buffaloes tied to a pole in the courtyard. Fiddling with the ends of the dupatta covering her head, she says what keeps her going is the occasional visit to the market nearby. “Baaki bas zindagi chal rahi hai (Life goes on, that’s it).”

The family fights on, alone. Her husband now shuttles between the house she stays in and his parents’ home in Hatim village. The 25-year-old says the rape shattered all that they had planned. Earlier, while she lived in Hatim, he worked in Gurgaon, 50 km away, and visited on weekends. The job of a call centre driver earned him Rs 15,000 a month. He had to give it up after the rape as he was busy making rounds of the court and police station.

While he claims to be determined to stand by his wife in this “battle”, he adds, “I am desperate to get back to a normal life. Everything has changed. We remain confined to Nuh on most days. We are trying to forget the incident, but it is tough. We have stopped discussing it at home. We have also run out of money, so I need to get a job soon. We need to get a place for ourselves too.”He hopes justice will come soon. “Bas un chaaron ko phansi lag jaaye (I am just waiting for the four accused to be hanged)….”

Police have arrested only four men, but the victim says there were four others. “They asked us for money and jewellery, payal, kada sab de diya (We gave them our anklets, bangles everything). Then they threw down a copy of the Quran we had in the room. We pleaded, told them it was our holy book, but they said they didn’t care. Then one of them said, ‘Tum gau maas khate ho, tumhe toh kabrastaan pahunchayenge (You all eat cow meat, we will put you in the grave)’,” she says.Her family has alleged that the two members of the family murdered that night were also killed by the rapists.
A pre-mediated hate crime. The family insists the attack was a “premeditated hate crime”. “There were more than four attackers that night and they had with them iron rods and sticks. It was definitely pre-planned, they wanted to humiliate us,” says Zohruddin, 68, the victims’ maternal grandfather.

The claim that the assaulters were “cow vigilantes” was also made by the rape victims at a press conference in the Capital, though the police charge sheet says it was a case of robbery and murder. The incident triggered a fight between Dingerheri village and the village of the four accused, Mohammadpur Ahir. There have been several mahapanchayats in both villages since the incident. Families of the accused, Amarjeet (24), Sandeep (26), Rahul Verma (22) and Karamjeet (24), claim they had “close ties” with the victims’ family and are surprised the girls named the four.

On September 8, Sabrangindia had carried this nerve-wracking account:
Two young Muslim girls, one of them minor, narrated the chilling account of their gang rape in Delhi yesterday, an incident that took place on the night of August 24-25, a week ago.  Last Wednesday (August 24), four-five persons, described of height and good build in the FIR, broke into their after midnight in Dingerheri village in Mewat district of Haryana, looted valuables and killed the couple Ibrahim and his wife Rashidan when they resisted the attack.

Minutes later, they broke into their relatives' home, about 200 metres away. There they tied another couple with the bed in the veranda and brutally beat them up. Then three of the robbers took turns to rape a minor girl and her married cousin who were sleeping in the room. The injured couple are admitted in a local hospital. The police have lodged FIR on the complaint of the gang-rape victims. The account as narrated in the First Information Report number 0247/2016 dated August 25, 2016 is horrific:

“I work as a domestic worker. I had come for the Bakri Eid festival from my in-laws place to the home of my parents. On the late night of August 24, I was sleeping with my family in the house. My uncle (chacha, name withheld), was sleeping outside in the courtyard and I was sleeping next to m cousin and her two children in the inside room. We heard shouts from outside. Suddenly four to fve men, two in baniyans and shorts, the others in pant shirt entered the room, They snatched away our dupatta(s) and tied up my uncle to the cot he was sleeping on. Then they beat him mercilessly. After this, they came into the inner room and then both my cousin sister and I were raped three times by three men. They kept demanding to know money eand jewellery was; one of them has a katta in their hand.They then searched the boxes etc in the house; emptied the barrel with grains, and then locked five of us into the room inside. They stole the motor cycle also. They were assaulting us between 12 midnight and 3 a.m. The men were speaking in ‘Jat Bhasha’ and were tall and board shouldered..

Somehow, my young relative (name withheld) reached to my grandfather sleeping outside near the tube well and informed him of the incident after which we were rescued.” Sabrangindia has a copy of the FIR.



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