Women have been raped and molested by rioters in Muzaffarnagar, but are too scared to complain, according to a police official in the western Uttar Pradesh district located barely 125 km northeast of national capital Delhi.
“In some villages located at Pugana, Mirpur and Shahpur area of the district, the rioters killed the men and raped the women,” the official who did not want to be named said on Thursday.
Doctors at the district hospital said some of the riot-affected women they treated had been sexually assaulted. The doctors too did not want to be quoted.
Zarina Usmani, chairperson of the UP state women’s commission, however, confirmed receiving information about such atrocities on women during the communal violence in Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Baghpat, Saharanpur and Meerut districts.
“A fact-finding team of the women’s commission will visit the riot-hit districts of western Uttar Pradesh soon,” she said.
“A majority of the (victimised) women are from weaker sections of the society and being threatened to remain silent. The women’s commission has planned to hold public hearings in all the riot-hit districts.”
Usmani said the commission would urge the women to come forward and register their complaints. “The women’s commission will also hold talks with the leaders of khap panchayats over the issue.”
On women being raped and molested during the riots, UP home secretary Kamal Saxena said no woman had registered a complaint with the police. “Police will take action after getting complaints.”
The All India Progressive Women Association (AIPWA) too has decided to visit the riot-hit areas.
AIPWA leader Tahira Hasan said the communal violence that erupted on September 7 and atrocities on women was blot on democracy.
Referring to the suspected root of the flare-up, the vulgar remarks passed on a girl on August 27 in Kaval village of Muzaffarnagar and three subsequent murders of people from different communities, she said timely police action could have stopped escalation of tension.