A senior Uttar Pradesh police officer faced flak on Tuesday for terming the gang rape of a 35-year-old woman and her minor daughter as a “sexual assault” and revealing the identity of a family-member of the two survivors.
The National Commission for Women (NCW) said inspector general of police (Meerut zone) Sujit Pandey’s action was reflective of the administration’s alleged attempt to “dilute the incident” that has sparked outrage across the country.
The Noida-based family traveling to Shahjahanpur in a car were waylaid, their cash and other valuables looted before the two women were gang-raped by highway robbers on July 29 near Bulandshahr, a district headquarter town around 70 km from Delhi.
On Monday, police arrested three more people including the prime suspect in the incident. Three others were arrested earlier.
Pandey revealed the name of the minor’s girl’s uncle when the survivors’ family-member allegedly into a press conference addressed by the police official at Surajpur in Greater Noida on Tuesday.
However, the IG later said that “it was not intentional” and he just named the complainant when someone asked for it. The girl’s uncle is the complainant in the case.
“The IG should not have identified the victims’ relative’s name in front of the press. Somewhere, the administration is trying to dilute the incident by referring it as sexual assault. In fact, it is a case of gang rape,” said NCW member Rekha Sharma.
“...@Uppolice introduced victim’s relative in the press Highly objectionable (sic),” she said in a tweet.
Any action that could lead to a rape survivor’s identity being revealed is illegal under Indian law.
On Moday, the NCW team had questioned a Bulandshahr doctor over some of the findings in her medical report of the two survivors which could allegedly favour the accused in court. The statements of the doctor were recorded and will be a part of the report to be submitted soon to chairperson of the NCW.
The uncle and aunt of the 13-year-old girl appeared in front of cameras and demanded handing over of the three accused to them.
“I want to kill them at the same place where they indulged in brutality with my family. ‘Darindo ko hamare hawale kar do, inhe aise saza denge jo nazeer ban jaye.’ (hand the culprits to us and we will punish them so that it becomes an example). I have just seen a glimpse of the accused...,” said the uncle of the girl.
In his police complaint on July 30, he had alleged robbery, illegal confinement and rape of the girl and her mother. Following the complaint, police lodged a case of gang rape, dacoity, illegal confinement and provisions of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.
Some of the sections were allegedly modified with a pen later.