The controversy surrounding the gang rape and murder of a Dalit woman in Sonepat has intensified, with more gory details of the crime emerging on Sunday. The Haryana police also came under a cloud, with relatives of the victim alleging that they had ignored a complaint lodged against the main suspect about three months ago.
An autopsy of the victim showed that the woman’s skull had been shattered, and sharp objects may have been inserted into her private parts. “The findings suggest that it was a brutal rape and murder,” said Dr SK Dhatterwal, head of the forensic medicine department at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS) in Rohtak, where body’s post-mortem examination was conducted.
The 20-year-old woman was gang raped and killed in Haryana’s Rohtak allegedly by her jilted lover – also a Dalit – and his friend. They had smashed her face with a brick and run their car over the body to make it unidentifiable.
The suspects, Sumit (24) and Vikas (28), were later arrested by the Haryana police. A Special Investigation Team (SIT) was also constituted to investigate the case.
“The victim’s family gave the names of six more people on Saturday. A supplementary statement of the relatives has been recorded to check if those named are actually involved. Of the six, five are relatives of Sumit – the primary suspect,” Sonepat superintendent of police Ashwin Shenvi said.
Incidentally, the victim’s relatives have alleged that police ignored a complaint lodged against Sumit much before the crime occurred. “We had approached police with a complaint of harassment against the main suspect a month ago, but no action was taken,” a relative of the victim told reporters in Sonepat.
The victim’s mother, who is still under trauma, also accused the police of not taking their complaint seriously. “He (Sumit) used to waylay my daughter and intimidate her with a pistol. Finally, she slapped him a few days ago out of exasperation. He said he will come back for revenge, which he did. Had police arrested Sumit when we lodged a complaint against him months ago, this would not have happened,” she said.
Shenvi, however, denied the charge. “Some time back, the victim and her mother told us that the main suspect was harassing her with demands of marriage. It was done verbally – there was no written complaint. Moreover, the two came down to the police station later to say that there was no need for police action because they had struck a compromise,” he said.
Inspector general (Rohtak range) Navdeep Virk echoed Shenvi’s claim, stating that they have not found any written complaint of the kind in their records.
National Commission for Women member Rekha Sharma, who met the victim’s family on Sunday, said she expects the suspects to get exemplary punishment – as was done in the case of the December 2012 Delhi gang rape-cum-murder of a paramedical student.
An SIT headed by Sonepat deputy superintendent (headquarters) Mukesh is probing the case, said Shenvi. The other members of the team comprise a local station house officer, an inspector of the Crime Investigation Department, and a woman police officer.
Many public figures, including Congress president Sonia Gandhi, have expressed “deep shock” over the incident. She said such incidents highlight the need to revisit the issue of women’s safety.
Sonepat police found the decomposing body of the victim, who had gone missing on May 9, near the Industrial Model Township in Rohtak two days later. Though stray dogs had gnawed at woman’s face as well as the lower portion of her body, her mother was able to identify it on the basis of her clothes.