A day after taking cognisance of the alleged incidents of rape at Murthal during the Jat community’s protest for reservation, the Punjab and Haryana high court has invited the citizens to report sexual assault and damage to their property to the district legal service authority concerned through post or representation.
The secretary of the district legal service authority, generally the chief judicial magistrate, will then report the complaints to the police.
The Haryana police had denied the alleged rapes in Murthal and termed the report as “false”. Even the army denied having come across any such incident.
A news report in an English daily on Wednesday had claimed that vehicles with women were reportedly stopped on the National Highway-1 near Murthal on Monday morning, and the woman occupants dragged out and raped in fields nearby. It said the number of such ‘victims’ was at least 10.
Justice NK Sanghi of the high court has written to the acting chief justice in this regard for further appropriate proceedings. The judge is learnt to have stated that it was painful that the senior officials of police allegedly chose to advise the families not to report the matter. He even sought an independent probe, it is learnt.
But at a press conference in Hisar, the state director general of police (DGP), YP Singal, said that following the report the Haryana government formed a committee of a financial commissioner and an inspector general of police, which “worked on every angle to find the facts, but found that the news is false.”
“I still want to request to everyone that if something has happened, then come to the police,” the DGP added.
The Sonepat police too refuted the news report. Superintendent of police (SP) Abhishek Garg said: “We talked to the people in the area, even those who were quoted in the report, but nobody told us about any sexual harassment by protesters.”
He said several officials of the district administration, principal secretary Devender Singh and inspector general of police (railways and commandos) Paramjeet Ahlawat reached Kurar village that was named in the report, and talked to several people, even the villagers and owners of dhabas (eateries), but they did not give any information about rape incidents and expressed surprise over the news report. “We did not get any complaint, but investigations are on and we will act if anybody files complaint in this regard,” he added.
Even the Sonepat district administration issued a press release denying the incident and said even residents of the Kurar village helped the people who got injured in an attack by protesters. The villagers stopped the protesters involved in violence, read the press release.
Member of the National Women Commission Ritesh Sharma also visited the spot and said she would investigate the matter.