Police inaction alleged in rape case of mentally challenged woman in TN
Tamil Nadu’s Commissionerate for Welfare of the Differently Abled has sought a report on alleged police inaction in the rape case of a 28-year-old mentally challenged and visually impaired five-month pregnant woman in Krishnagiri district amid reports that she has been married off to her alleged rapist.
Johny Tom Varghese, the welfare commissioner for the differently abled, took cognisance of the matter on his own on Tuesday under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act and issued the notice, including to Krishnagiri police superintendent and district social welfare department. He has sought a report before June 22 while questioning whether authorities followed procedures in the case as per the Act.
The commission issued the notice before reports of the marriage. The revenue division officer has been asked to find out if she requires protection and legal, medical and psychiatric help.
Tamil Nadu Association for Rights of All Types of Differently Abled and Caregivers (TARATDAC) general secretary S Namburajan said village heads arranged the woman’s marriage with the alleged 35-year-old rapist on June 6. “That is when I alerted the authorities in Chennai,” said Namburajan. “They are protecting the criminal... This will only lead to an increase in such crimes.”
Namburajan said they helped the woman’s family file a police complaint on June 3 and claimed no case was registered until June 5. He added locals informed him the woman was married off on Wednesday.
R Mahizhnan, the district differently abled welfare officer, led a preliminary inquiry last Friday. “We instructed them several times not to speak for a marriage,” he said. “We gave them our contacts and asked them to come to us for any help and service, but we hear they got her married Wednesday morning,” he said.
Police said that they have registered a First Information Report under Indian Penal Code Sections including 417 (cheating), 503 (1) (criminal intimidation), 493 (deceiving a woman to cohabit), 506 (1) (criminal intimidation), and 312 (miscarriage).
Sai Charan Tejaswi, the superintendent of police, said if the activists have concerns of omission, they are ready to take action as per complaints. “It is a recent case. We have a stipulated time before we file a charge sheet. So based on the victim’s statement, any section can be deleted or added,” said Tejaswi. “We are in touch with the victim. She was taken to the government hospital today [Thursday] for a check-up. We are providing legal assistance to them.”
The officer could not verify reports of the marriage stating that there has been no registration. “The accused is already married to another woman. There are talks between them and their relatives. We can neither stop nor allow the will and wish of the victim. Our purview is to ensure the victim is protected, not harassed, and offer legal support,” he said.