Hyderabad teen’s ordeal: From school party to gang rape
A case of molestation was registered, and the girl was shifted to the Bharosa Centre, a wing of the city’s police department.
Hyderabad: On the afternoon of May 28, all the 17-year-old Class 12 student of a popular school in Hyderabad did, was to go out for a party with her friends. There was no imminent danger. The party was hosted by two of her classmates at the popular Amnesia and Insomnia Pub on road number 36 in the Jubilee Hills area. When she returned home that evening, there were injuries on her body; deep in shock, could say very little of what had happened.
Five days later, what has emerged is a story of a brutal gang rape that has left the city of Hyderabad in shock.
Invitations for the party were sent out to over 150 people, all students of classes 11 and 12. A senior police official said, “All of them are from affluent sections of society and a few have political or bureaucratic connections.”
The manager of the Amnesia and Insomnia Pub confirmed the booking, and said they were aware that the party was for school students. “At first, it was meant for 150 people, but later, they increased the number of people to 180. It was only a luncheon and no alcohol was served. I even took care that no cigarettes were allowed inside,” said the manager, who identified himself only as Sai.
The party continued till 6pm, but half an hour before the end, the manager said, the girl sought to leave. With no vehicle at her disposal, eight of her schoolmates offered her a ride home. They left in two cars, police officials said, a red Mercedes Benz with Telangana number plates, and a Toyota Innova so new that it had no registration plates.
Sai said that the girl entered the Mercedes, driven by one of her classmates, presumably underage, but there was no duress at this point. “We noticed the girl going out along with other boys and getting into their car. There was no way we could suspect any foul play,” Sai said.
According to the sequence of events that the police have put together so far, extensively using CCTV footage, the girl and the group stopped at a popular patisserie called Concue at road number 37, for half an hour, where most had coffee. When they left the pastry shop, the victim left in the Mercedes again, closely followed by the Innova. But at 7:10pm, she was dropped back at the pub in the Toyota, having at some point been forced to change cars. It is in this interim, police suspect, that the sexual assault took place.
She called her father and asked him to pick her up. He was there in 15 minutes and took her home. But family knew immediately something was wrong. “She was in such a state of shock and fear that she did not utter a word till they reached home,” said a police official who spoke to her father.
Once home, her parents noticed minor injuries on her neck, and asked about them. She told them that some boys, who she was in the car with, had misbehaved with her. But afraid of the damage it would cause to the reputation of the family, she did not tell the whole truth, police said, adding that she continued to be in deep trauma for three days. This was when the father lodged a complaint with the Jubilee Hills police station on the night of May 31. “Since the incident, my daughter has been in deep shock and has been unable to disclose what happened exactly,” the father told the police later.
A case of molestation was registered, and the girl was shifted to the Bharosa Centre, a wing of the city’s police department, where victims of atrocities are counselled. It was here that she could speak her whole truth, police said. “After a lot of counselling by the women cops at the Bharosa Centre, the girl revealed what exactly happened to her. She told them that at the Concue patisserie, she was forced to get into the Toyota Innova car, in which five other boys were present. They took her to an isolated place, somewhere near Banjara Hills, which she could not identify, where they took turns raping her, while the others stood guard outside the car,” the officer said, asking not to be named.
An hour later, the boys dropped her back at the pub, and left. Days have passed, and the trauma is still deep. The police officer quoted above said that she has so far been able to give them just one name. “We are investigating every aspect, and will bring this case to justice,” the officer added.