A tribal woman in Betul town, 176 southwest of Bhopal, was shot dead late on Friday night for reporting the rape of her minor daughter. She was allegedly murdered by family members of a woman who is an accomplice in case. The woman had also reported threats to her life to the local police, who did not arrange for any protection.
The victim, Surti Uike (name changed), 50, had filed a complaint against Rani Gawli in February for helping one Rajesh Kirar rape Surti’s minor daughter. The daughter, 15, is a student of Class 8.
After Rani had been arrested, her family members including her husband and brother-in-law were allegedly threatening Surti and her family to take their complaint back. Surti had reported the threat to the police after the rape incident in February and preventive action had also been initiated against Rani’s family.
Late on Friday night, Rani’s husband Rajiv Gawli, his brother Bantu Gawli and friend Pravin allegedly barged into Surti’s home at Hamlapur in Betul town and shot her dead. Some other youth also reportedly accompanied the killers.
A two-member team of MP State Women's Commission led by chairperson Upma Rai will visit Betul on Sunday to investigate the incident.
“This is a sad and shocking incident. The victim’s family had reported the threat from the accused to the police, but no protection was given to them. This calls for serious action,” Upma Rai said while speaking to HT.
Madhya Pradesh, incidentally, reported the highest number of rapes in country (3,135) in 2010, according to the National Crime Records Bureau. Among its districts, Betul recorded the highest number of rapes (144, according to MP police’s official website).
“We have rounded up a few people and police parties have left for certain destinations on a tip-off. We are hoping to catch the accused named by the victim’s family by Saturday night. We have also received information about some other youth accompanying the accused. They would also be nabbed,” superintendent of police of Betul BS Chouhan told HT.
He also conceded that the family of the victim had reported the threats made by Rani’s family after the rape in February and preventive action under Section 107/116 was taken against them. “However no protection was demanded,” the SP said.
On February 10, Rajesh Kirar had allegedly Surti’s daughter, a class VIII student, while she was on way to school and raped her in a room. Rani had allegedly helped Rajesh in luring the minor girl. After the complaint by girl’s family Rani was arrested while Rajesh is still absconding.
“The rape is a separate case under investigation and the main accused is absconding,” the Betul SP said.
The distraught rape victim vowed to kill her mother’s killers while speaking to local newspersons. “Whatever anyone may do, but I will certainly kill those people," she said.