Gurgaon police face flak for exposing the Manesar gang-rape victim to television cameras

Gurgaon police denies the charge, assures protection of the gang-rape victim

gurgaon Updated: Jun 09, 2017 21:20 IST
Yashaswani Sehrawat
Yashaswani Sehrawat
Hindustan Times
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The metalled road in Manesar’s industrial area which the accused took as they drove her to a vacant plot in Sector 8 where they took turns to rape her.(Parveen Kumar/HT FILE)

The Gurgaon police has drawn the ire of women’s activists for exposing the Manesar gang-rape survivor to television cameras while she was at the women’s police station and being taken for counselling.

A video of the 19-year-old, who was gang-raped in Manesar and whose eight-month-old daughter was choked to death by the accused, surfaced on Wednesday.

In the video, which has a run time of nearly five minutes and was shot by a satellite news channel, she is shown narrating her ordeal while being repeatedly interrupted by the reporter. Another short video of about a minute emerged later and it was attributed to a Hindi news channel.

“The press claimed that the Gurgaon Commissioner of Police (CP), Sandeep Khirwar, had arranged for a meeting of TV news reporters with the victim. It is shocking as the victim’s identity and her privacy was compromised,” Rekha Sharma, member of the National Commission for Women told HT.

Sharma met Khirwar, other police officers and the gang-rape victim on Thursday.

The NCW member took up the matter with the Gurgaon CP, but he denied ‘the police had any role to play’. Khirwar told Sharma that the victim was at the mahila thana (women’s police station) when the ‘press barged in’.

“I don’t know who is telling the truth, but the Gurgaon police should have been more careful. It is the responsibility of the police to ensure privacy of any victim, particularly that of rape and sexual assault,” Sharma said.

Ranjana Kumari, a women’s rights activist and director of the Centre for Social Research, agreed. “The privacy of a victim is extremely crucial and it is the police’s responsibility to give her the protection she needs. However, the police has been irresponsible and insensitive in dealing with the Manesar case,” Kumari said.

She said that if reports are to be believed that Khirwar himself had arranged a meeting of the victim with TV news reporters, then he should be booked under law.

Both Kumari and the NCW member, however, said that the media should have exercised restraint as well and should be more sensitive in covering such cases.

Kamlesh Panchal, former chairperson of the Haryana Women Commission, also questioned the Gurgaon police. She claimed that the police always delays investigation in cases of sexual assault and tries to convince the victim to withdraw her complaint.

“Both the police and the media have exploited the victim here. The victim had to relive the horror again and again,” Panchal said.

However, assistant commissioner of police, Manish Sehgal, a spokesperson Gurgaon police, denied Khirwar had arranged for the reporters to meet the victim.

Read I Gurgaon gang rape: Victim, husband fled from home after ‘tiff’ with neighbours

“Why would the police allow (reporters of) only one or two channels to meet the victim?” Sehgal asked.

He said that the police was busy with the investigation and the meeting happened while the victim was inside the police station. “Perhaps, there weren’t enough personnel at the women’s police station at the time and some reporters sneaked in for a quick byte or two. We have taken note of the matter and will ensure that there’s adequate police personnel around the victim in future,” Sehgal said.

The Gurgaon police have arrested all the three accused in the Manesar gang-rape case. While Yogender and Amit were arrested on Wednesday from Manesar and Gurgaon respectively, the third accused and the alleged mastermind, Jaikesh, was nabbed from Bulandshahr in the wee hours of Thursday.

First Published: Jun 09, 2017 21:19 IST