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Haryana horror stories: Outrage in state after fresh wave of gory crime against women

Delayed response: RSS pracharak-turned-chief minister Khattar took more than 50 hours to grasp gravity of situation

india Updated: Jan 17, 2018 13:42 IST
Pawan Sharma
It is this delayed response — and often nonchalant also — that has been the hallmark of this first-ever BJP government in Haryana after assuming power in October 2014.
It is this delayed response — and often nonchalant also — that has been the hallmark of this first-ever BJP government in Haryana after assuming power in October 2014.(HT File/Representative image )

The Manohar Lal Khattar-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government was thumping its chest last Saturday over Haryana’s improved sex ratio when the reports started trickling in about the latest wave of girls being gangraped and then killed.

What has sparked outrage across the state is that RSS pracharak-turned-chief minister Khattar took more than 50 hours to grasp the gravity of the crime. Finally, on Monday evening the Khattar administration began taking action against the erring cops and the top bureaucrats started assuring people that guilty will be punished.

It is this delayed response — and often nonchalant also — that has been the hallmark of this first-ever BJP government in Haryana after assuming power in October 2014.

The frequency of heinous crime against women is such that even the opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the Congress woke up from their slumber to raise the issue on Monday evening despite media reports of the crime on Sunday.

Recent incidents of rapes and murders
  • January 14: 11-year-old Dalit girl raped and murdered in Panipat. Two accused arrested. Police say they raped her corpse for four hours.
  • January 14: A 10-year-old girl was sexually abused (a stick was inserted in her private parts) by her neighbour in Pinjore.
  • January 13: A 15-year-old Dalit girl’s semi-naked body found near a canal in Jind’s Budhakhera village. Autopsy indicated gangrape by multiple men who thrust a sharp object in her private parts, rupturing liver.
  • January 13: In Faridabad, a young woman returning from work was abducted and raped in a moving car.
  • December 9, 2017: A six-year-old Dait girl’s brutalised body found in Uklana block of Hisar district. Autopsy found accused mutilated her private parts, a 24-cm wooden stick thrust inside.
  • December 4: In Hisar three men allegedly gangraped a 27-year-old woman in a moving auto-rickshaw and dumped the woman near Hisar’s military cantonment.
  • September 18: 18-year-old Dalit gangrape victim at Palwan village in Jind consumed toilet cleaner to end life after accused stick letters outside her residence shaming her.
  • September 15: Body of a 26-year-old woman belonging to West Bengal found in a canal in Rohtak. Investigation revealed she was sold for prostitution, gangraped multiple times and shot dead by four Jind men when she resisted their sexual assault bid. Four were arrested.
  • May 9: 20-year-old woman gangraped by her jilted lover and his friend, who then smashed bricks on her head to kill her in Rohtak. Body found three days later. Autopsy revealed accused mutilated her private parts.

The brutality of the crime, for example, is such that on last Saturday when police recovered the semi-naked body of a 15-year-old Dalit girl from near a canal in Jind’s Budhakhera village, they found a sharp object pushed by her assailants in her private parts after the gangrape, rupturing her liver.

In Faridabad that very evening, a young woman was raped in a moving car after she was abducted while returning home from work. Yet another case hit the state on Sunday when 11-year-old Dalit girl was found raped and murdered in Panipat. Police say the accused confessed of having raped her corpse.

The arrest of the accused has, however, saved the government from further embarrassment.

Another disturbing trend is that in at least four cases since December last year, the gangrape victims were not only killed but the assailants also mutilated their private parts by thrusting sticks. That’s the savage nature of the cases.

DSP Sandeep Kumar, who is leading the investigation of murder and rape of 11-year-old Panipat girl, said, “The accused were under the influence of liquor when they committed the crime.”Another police official involved in Panipat case investigation said the accused are drug addicts.

Accolades and brickbats

Despite earning accolades for its campaign and claims about improving the sex ratio (914 girls against 1,000 boys in 2017), the Haryana government continues to earn a bad name when it comes to violence against women.

After the launch of the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015, the state government launched a multi-pronged drive to check the skewed sex ratio. The results, the government claims, are encouraging.

But the recent series of gangrapes and killings of girls and tardy response of the state agencies, including the police, indicate that the trend of crime against women reflected in the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) statistics continues to rise dangerously.

For the third year in row, Haryana has recorded the highest rate of gang-rape per 1 lakh population in country, as per the NCRB-2016 data. Haryana has ranked 6th in crime against women with 9,839 cases.

As many as 1,187 rape cases (11% more than previous year’s 1,070) that included 191 cases of gangrapes were registered. At least 1,172 offenders were known to the victims. The gangrape rate of Haryana was 1.5 per one lakh female population of the state. Haryana had earned this dubious distinction in 2014 and 2015 as well, with gang-rape rates of 1.9 and 1.6, respectively.

The overall crime against women in Haryana also rose to 9,839 cases in 2016 from 9,511 in 2015. This includes a 7% rise in incidents of dowry deaths and 15% rise in cases of kidnapping.

Another disturbing trend is that in at least four cases since December last year, the gangrape victims were not only killed but the assailants also mutilated their private parts.

‘Haryana’s image tarnished’

Rani Rampal, Arjuna awardee and Indian women hockey team captain, said the repeated incidents of crime against women have tarnished Haryana’s image.

“People, especially the girls, outside the state have started feeling that the state is unsafe for the girls. While Haryana women are doing exceptionally well — be it sports, education or beauty pageants — the society is treating them as if they are not human. It is very disturbing,” Rani said, demanding exemplary punishment in such cases.

In the wake of rape and murder of a six-year-old girl in Hisar’s Uklana, police had launched a campaign from December 14 to January 15 to deal with the crime against women. But the results are contrary to the police claims.

Professor Ranjana Aggarwal, director Women’s Studies Research Centre, Kurukshetra University, says at the core of crime against women is decline in values and the parents ignoring activities of the sons. “Parents don’t check the activities of their boys. We don’t ask boys where are they going and what they are doing. This freedom has nudged them towards the wrong path and ultimately towards the crime,” Prof Aggarwal said.

“The need of the hour is to launch an aggressive campaign to sensitise youth on the lines of Beti Bachao campaign that helped in improving sex ratio.”

When contacted, director general of police (DGP) BS Sandhu said, “Yes, we are concerned...It is actually a social problem also.”

Cabinet is worried: Capt Abhimanyu

Haryana finance minister Capt Abhimanyu on Monday said the entire cabinet is worried over the recent incidents of violence against women in the state, while assuring people that such misdeeds would not be tolerated and culprits would be severely punished.

Addressing the media after a cabinet meeting, he said the government had taken a serious note of such incidents which had left a negative impact on the society as well as the state. “The opposition parties, instead of grinding their own axe, should shoulder their responsibility to the society and help the administration in taking on the nefarious elements so that such misdeeds could be prevented,” he said.