A day after the Madhya Pradesh Commission for Women confirmed that a 48-year-old Dalit woman was gang-raped at a police station in Betul district, 200 km from Bhopal, and called for sacking of four policemen allegedly involved in the crime, the cops are busy defending their colleagues.
The victim and her family claimed that she was raped by at least four policemen at the Amla police station, 217 km from Bhopal, on the intervening night of June 1 and 2. She was picked from her residence after a local court rejected her bail plea in a dowry harassment case.
Though the victim’s elder son Kailash accompanied her to the police station, he claimed the police sent him out to buy beer and snacks before they assaulted his mother.
“I was taken to a dark room and pinned on the floor before my clothes were forcibly taken off and I was raped by at least four policemen who were using contraceptives,” the victim said.
When she objected, she was told: “We do the same with women who are older than you.”
Later, they told her that she would have escaped the assault had she paid them the money they demanded.
The victim’s family said her custody was unlawful as there was no woman constable in the police station that night. The police, however, said a female constable was present there.
But the victim’s family members said the constable was hurriedly brought over from her residence at around 4 am after the assault had already taken place.
The matter first came to light on June 2, leading to agitations by several NGOs.
Incidentally, some local organisations which had a month ago launched a major campaign against the Amla police, are supporting the cops in this case. At least eight of them have submitted a memorandum to the tehsildar, citing allegations against the police as baseless.
Meanwhile, the members of the Youth Congress burnt effigy of the police administration, demanding termination of the accused policemen. The members of the National Campaign for Dalit Human Right is planning to launch a statewide campaign against the incident. They also demanded investigation into the alleged gang-rape by a different agency.
Doctors, who had examined the victim, have submitted their report to the jail superintendent — who forwarded it to the probe committee.
District collector Arun Bhatt and Superintendent of Police JS Sansanwal remained tightlipped. So too was the jailer.