The government should allow the men who gangraped a 13-year-old girl and her mother in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr to be shot in public by the victims, the family demanded on Monday.
The 13-year-old’s uncle said the family will never come out of the trauma of the rape but an “example” needed to be set to avoid such incidents, reigniting the debate around stricter punishment for crimes against women.
The family’s car was waylaid early on Saturday morning on the Delhi-Kanpur highway by a gang, who tied the male members and raped the mother-daughter duo for three hours, before fleeing with cash and valuables.
The uncle alleged that a police van drove past the crime scene without intervening, hours before the family was finally rescued.
“Only we can understand how it feels when a woman and her daughter get beaten and raped in front of your eyes. I would request the government and judiciary to allow our women to shoot the culprit in public,” said the uncle.
“This was a gruesome human rights’ violation. But people raise cries of human rights violation when rapists are hanged.
“One of them even told his group not to abuse women, but some of them did not listen,” said the uncle.
Six crimes against women are reported every minute in India with many saying lax prosecution and punishment encourages perpetrators. The country tightened its anti-rape laws after the 2012 Delhi gang-rape but many activists have called for stricter punishment for heinous crimes – such as the death penalty.
The crime in Bulandshahr has shocked the country and raised questions about law and order and the role of police in the state. The UP government has suspended seven policemen and set up a 300-member task force that arrested five suspects on Monday.
But this might not satisfy the family, which said the initial response of the UP Police on Saturday morning was “pathetic” and that a police van had driven past the spot when the rape was happening but didn’t bother to check.
The uncle said when they called the police helpline 100, the emergency helpline was busy at first and then no one picked up for a long time. They then contacted a relative in Noida and after some time, the local police station called on their phone.
But then, the officer on the other side of the line repeatedly asked questions instead of rescuing the family.
“I even abused the cop out of frustration and told him to rescue us and understand the pathetic situation we were in,” he said.
“Senior officials were sensitive to our plight and they were quite helpful. Some have even promised ‘strict and exemplary’ action against the accused.”
The uncle alleged that one of the suspended police officers -- senior superintendent of police Vaibhav Krishna – had immediately arrived at the spot but had to be “sacrificed” for the incident. “We are partially satisfied with UP police action till now,” he said.
The family said the girl has high fever and her mother is in a state of mental and physical shock.
“We will take them to the hospital as they need further treatment. But we will fight it out. We want all agencies to understand our plight and we demand arrest of all those 7-8 men who assaulted our women,” the uncle added.
“The girl may not be able to attend her class for months now. She is severely traumatised and shattered.”
The family recounted the horror of their ordeal that began around 1.15 am when their car was hit with iron rods by robbers on the highway.
“We were taken to fields and we were not allowed to raise our heads. We repeatedly pleaded them to take our belongings but to release our women but every time, they hit us with sticks, rods and hammer,” he said.
“They even did not listen to the cries of woman and my niece... I cannot narrate the incident.”
He added that the two women identified three suspects who were brought face-to- face before them on Sunday.
“Even the gold chain and the purse which some local politicians were claiming belong to us were not ours. All the accused seemed to be around aged 22-35 years and spoke in local dialect,” said the uncle.