Possibility of rapes in Murthal during Jat protests: Haryana tells HC
The Haryana government on Monday told the Punjab and Haryana high court a section of gangrape has been added in the FIR registered on the complaint of a Delhi resident who alleged that women were sexually assaulted during an agitation by Jats demanding government benefits.
Media reports had said that gangrapes took place on February 22 and that at least 10 women were sexually assaulted by a group of nearly 40 agitators during the violence. Images of innerwear scattered on the fields were circulated on social media and cited as proof by some.
They had quoted “eyewitnesses” as saying that the women lay in the fields until their families came looking for them.
After rejecting the reports of sexual assaults in Murthal, the Manohar Lal Khattar told the court that the section has been added in the FIR registered on the basis of a complaint filed by Bobby Joshi on March 30 alleging gangrapes during the Jat quota violence.
The government said the section was added after it received an anonymous letter alleging gangrapes. It was provided to the Faridabad commissioner of police by a local news channel and has been purportedly written by an NRI woman. Section 376(D) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been added to the FIR on the basis of her letter.
The Punjab and Haryana high court had taken suo motu notice of the media reports that some women who were commuting on the Delhi-Ambala highway (NH-1) were stripped and raped by rioters during the agitation.
The state government had told the court in February that no incident of rape or molestation was reported anywhere in the state during the 10-day agitation by members of the Jat community. In March, the government had filed a report in the court again stating no gangrapes had taken place during the stir but some women were harassed.
An all-women special investigation team (SIT) probing the alleged gang rapes had also said that no such incident was reported from Murthal in its preliminary status report submitted to the court in February.
During the agitation over reservation in government jobs, sectarian clashes were reported from the state in which at least 30 people were killed and public and private property worth Rs 10,000 crore was damaged.
The agitators had also damaged canals supplying water to Delhi, resulting in a massive water shortage in the national capital.