Police did nothing, will do nothing; politicians offer just lip service, cried the traumatized woman gangraped along with her teen daughter by highway robbers near Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh.
More than half-dozen politicians of various parties visited her home in Ghaziabad on Wednesday. Journalists too waited their turn to meet the 35-year-old victim, and for a sound-bite from her 14-year-old daughter, if possible.
“All I want is justice. I want to punish the attackers with my own hands. I don’t trust politicians. They are promising many things, but they don’t have any accountability. I want them to safeguard the future of my child,” the distraught mother told reporters.
“The police are at fault too, as is the government. The culprits should be hanged and the government should allow me to hang them with my own hands.”
Police have arrested three men from the nomadic Bawariya tribe since the July 30 incident that shocked the nation.
The victims were on their way to a family function for a dead relative at Shahjahanpur when their car was waylaid on a desolate stretch of national highway 91 near Bulandshahr; the women were robbed, dragged out, taken to a field, and repeatedly raped.
“Police officers promised to nab the culprits. It has been three days now, but only three men are arrested. Police should arrest them all,” the woman said, and thanked the media for standing by “our side”.
Besides leaders of the Samajwadi Party, BJP and Congress, local Bahujan Samaj Party lawmaker Amar Pal Sharma visited the family on Wednesday, and assured financial help for the daughter’s education.
“The girl says she doesn’t want to go to school. Such horrific incidents leave a scar for a lifetime. We have assured the family of all possible help,” he said.
Police suspect the criminal clan headed by Saleem Bawaria, a crook from Gangoh in Saharanpur who has a cash reward of Rs 15,000 on his head, to be behind the incident.
“The victims immediately identified him from the photographs of criminals,” said Meerut zone IG, Sujit Pandey, who is investigating the case.
The Bawariyas inhabit some villages in Saharanpur and Shamli, but the culprits might have moved out after last week’s gang-rape prompted the Samajwadi government in the poll-bound state to put its might in the gang’s tail.
The incident could have been avoided if police had made a comprehensive inquiry into a robbery at a dhaba on the night of June 30. The main accused in the July 30 gang-rape, Raees, was involved in the incident a month earlier, but police apparently let him off then.
The dhaba owners alleged that an armed gang in the guise of police came there late at night and assaulted workers of the eatery, which is barely 4km from Raees’s village.
Raees was taken into custody, but was freed after witnesses failed to recognize him.
After last week’s incident, Raees was arrested again. “He often came to my dhaba to have a smoke, and recently he offered to help me get cheap bikes for Rs 3,000-5,000. However, I declined the offer,” the dhaba owner said.
(with inputs from Peeyush Khandelwal in Bulandshahr)