Criminals are on the prowl at scenic spots of Madhya Pradesh.
Criminals target young couples who meet in secluded areas in parks and popular picnic spots, sexually harass the women and film the act and then blackmail the couple for money.
One such incident was reported in Guna on May 31, when three men — aged between 18 and 25 years — allegedly forcibly filmed a 20-year-old man in nude and then blackmailed him by threatening to upload his picture with his girlfriend on social media if he refused to give them Rs 20,000.
The victim had gone to meet his female friend at a dam that is a popular picnic spot among local residents and couples.
Talking to the Hindustan Times, Kotwali police station town inspector Vivek Asthana says the victim was initially hesitant to narrate his ordeal to his family members or report the matter to police as he feared for his reputation in the society.
In February this year, the Katni district police arrested two men aged 35 and 40 for gang-raping a 15-year-old girl, who had gone with her friend to a secluded place for some privacy.
The two accused followed the couple to a secluded spot and beat up the male friend and tied him to a tree before gang-raping the girl.
The accused also filmed the act and threatened the victim and her male friend not to inform the police. After getting arrested, the two accused later confessed before the police of committing similar crimes earlier also.
In another incident in July 2014, a 15-year-old girl was gang-raped by four men while she was with her male friend in Mahadevpani, a popular spot with couples, about 25 km away from Bhopal.
A rape victim, who spoke to Hindustan Times on the condition of anonymity, says it sends shivers down her spine whenever she recounts the horror she experienced four years back.
“I was with a male friend at a secluded spot that is popular with couples on the outskirts of Indore in 2012. We were sitting enjoying the sunset, when six men came out of the bushes and surrounded us,” says the 27-year old victim.
“Two of men caught hold of me while the others beat up my male friend with sticks. I was gang-raped by five of them while one held my injured friend,” she recounts.
“After the incident I was in trauma for more than a year. I didn’t inform my parents about the incident fearing they might rebuke me. My confidence was very low and felt that my life has been destroyed as nobody would marry me now.
“I gained confidence and narrated my ordeal to one of my close friends but till date I haven’t informed my parents or the police about the incident,” she says.
“I was lucky that the male friend, who was with me during the incident, supported me and married me a year back.”
A frightening story of a gang of rapists caught by police in Raisen district about a decade back is still fresh in the minds of people.
The gang confessed having raped more than two dozen girls and women who used to visit a secluded place behind Bhojpur temple in Raisen district, to meet their lovers.
Police face difficulties in nabbing the accused as victims do not report the incidents: SP
Arvind Saxena, superintendent of police, Bhopal (north), says police often face difficulties in nabbing the accused in such cases as victims do not report the incidents.
“Only 20% such cases are reported due to social stigma,” he says.
“Victims should come forward and report the incidents to help police in nabbing the accused. It is because no one comes forward, the accused dare to commit the crime repeatedly.”
He further adds that victims should immediately dial 100 or call 1090 on the women’s helpline to seek help without any fear.
(With inputs from Yogendra Loomba from Guna)