SHO accused of raping Dalit teen girl in UP held: Police
Authorities also suspended six sub-inspectors, six head constables, five women constables, 10 constables and two drivers who were present at the police station when the alleged rape took place.
A local police officer in Uttar Pradesh’s Lalitpur district was arrested on Wednesday on charges that he raped a 13-year-old girl who came to the police station to lodge a complaint of gang-rape against four other people. Authorities also suspended all 29 people posted at the police station where the alleged rape took place amid growing outrage about the incident.
Additional director general of police (Kanpur) Bhanu Bhaskar said the local station house officer(SHO), Tilakdhari Saroj, was arrested near the Allahabad high court. Police also arrested five other people in the case, the chilling details of which emerged after the victim narrated her ordeal to a non-governmental organisation, which approached the superintendent of police (SP). After his intervention, a first information report (FIR) was registered on Tuesday.
Authorities also suspended six sub-inspectors, six head constables, five women constables, 10 constables and two drivers who were present at the police station when the alleged rape took place and asked the deputy inspector general of police (Jhansi) Joginder Kumar to conduct an inquiry and submit a report in 24 hours.
The FIR in the case said the victim, who belonged to a scheduled caste community, was lured by four men— Chandan, Raj Bhan, Mahendra Chaurasia and Hari Shankar — on April 22. On the same day, they took her to Bhopal, where she was kept in a house in a congested lane near the railway station. The girl was allegedly gang-raped for three days before being brought back to her village on April 26, added the FIR, a copy of which is with HT.
On April 23, her mother lodged a missing persons complaint with the police.
The investigation has revealed that the four accusedaccompaniedby the survivor’s aunthad dropped the girl at the police station on April 26. The accused ensured the SHO gave the custody to aunt and not the family. The SHO did not send the girl for medical examination nor informed her mother.
Saroj asked the aunt to bring the victim again to the police station on April 27 for recording her statement, said police. On April 27, the SHO called the girl to his chamber where she was allegedly raped again. Thereafter, she was handed over to the aunt.
On April 30, the police called the victim again and gave her custody to NGO Childline. During one of the sessions with the counsellor, the victim told her what she had been through. The counsellor informed the district child welfare officer, who in turn informed SP (Lalitpur) Nikhil Pathak about the sequence of events.
Five of the accused named by the victim in the FIR were also arrested on Wednesday. Three of them – Chandan, Raj Bhan and the victim’s aunt – were arrested in Lalitpur while two others – Hari Shankar and Mahendra Chaurasia – were arrested from Madhya Pradesh, said Bhaskar.
Seven police teams conducted raids in five states – Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and parts of Uttar Pradesh – to arrest Saroj, who was absconding after the Lalitpur Police charged him with rape.
The police lodged cases under Indian Penal Code Sections 363 (kidnapping), 376 (rape) 376 B (rape by public servant with woman in his custody), 120B (conspiracy), Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Prevention of Atrocities Act.
Investigators said the 13-year-old girl was initially abducted on April 22 to prevent her from testifying in favour of her father in an old dispute involving Hari Shankar’s family.
The girl’s father was a complainant in the case and the victim was to appear before a court on April 25 for her testimony. She was an eyewitness in the case, said two police officers, requesting anonymity.
The officers quoted above said Chandan, who was known to the girl’s family, lured her away and took her to Bhopal. “The accused will be taken on remand for questioning in light of these details emerging,” said a senior police officer, requesting anonymity.
The officers said the four accused pressured Saroj to give custody of the victim to her aunt, who was working with the accused, instead of her parents. Local police did not send her for medical examination or inform her parents, who had filed a missing complaint and approached senior officers, said the officials.
On April 27, the girl’s parents were alarmed when they saw the key accused and others in the village while their daughter was still missing. They then approached senior officers again with their complaint.
On April 30, local police called the victim, who was living with her aunt, again and gave her custody to Childline. During one of the sessions with the counsellor, the victim told her what she had been through.
The incident also sparked a political tussle, with Opposition parties attacking the state government.
“The biggest question in the BJP government is whom to trust and whom to not. A minor, who reached the police station to file a rape complaint, was raped by the SHO. Now, the CM should tell where should the victim daughters go? Security of the victim should be ensured and strict action should be taken against those found guilty,” the Samajwadi Party said in a tweet.
In the evening, SP president Akhilesh Yadav met the victim’s family in Lalitpur and assured them of justice.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said, “The incident of gang-rape with a 13-year-old girl in Lalitpur and then rape by a police officer after taking the complaint shows how the real reforms of law and order are being suppressed under the noise of bulldozer. If police stations are not safe for women, where will they go with their complaints?”
Deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said all the accused behind this case have been arrested and the case is being investigated. “The case has been solved, it is clear who were the criminals and the place belonged to whom,” he said.