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Rape victim recalls nightmare

Gayatri was raped by a bureaucrat and a police officer. She had organised the tribals to demand their rights and powers-that-be were getting uneasy.

india Updated: Nov 02, 2003 02:16 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent

Gayatri, a Dalit activist from Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, was raped by a bureaucrat and a police officer. She had organised the local tribals to demand their rights and the powers-that-be were getting uneasy.

Gayatri narrated her tale at a debate organised by HT on 'How to make Delhi safer for women'. Her story highlights that power play also finds expression in the form of sexual aggression.

"The local administration was unhappy with me and was always looking for excuses to pick on me and my family. On December 21, 1999, one of our cows strayed on to the main road and got in the way of a truck," Gayatri said.

"They used the incident as an excuse to harass us — my father, mother, six brothers, four sisters and I. We were beaten up by cops and senior administrative officials, who reached there 'to take stock of the situation'.

We were then taken to the local police station and the next day produced before a court, which remanded us in judicial custody," she said.

She alleges that while in judicial custody, she was brought back to the police station, and allegedly raped by a senior administrative and a police officer.

Thereafter, she was sent to jail. A rape case was registered four months later after Gayatri and her family were released from prison.

The case was, however, dismissed by the court on grounds that there was delay in registering the FIR.

Gayatri has now written to the Chief Justice.

Citizens’ voices

There is a lot of sexual repression... which encourages such crimes. We must talk about sex more openly

Reena Dhaka, fashion designer

Eve teasing is a greater problem. Women will have defend themselves instead of depending on the cops

Dr Jyoti, doctor

Justifying rapes on the basis of the weird theory that men are seldom in a position to control their sexual urges is preposterous. I can control my sexual urges.

Gautam Bhan, travel writer

Gender studies must be introduced in school. Children must grow up with a right perspective towards the opposite sex.

Arun Kapur, teacher, Vasant Valley School

People must come forward to help victims. There should be zero tolerance

Amod Kanth, Delhi Police

The police must take lessons from Mumbai police. No one seems to be scared of them

Dr Sushma Mehrotra, doctor

We have to create an atmosphere where women can react boldly to instances of sexual harassment

Vimla Mehra, ACP, Crimes Against Women Cell

Draft declaration

** Need for pro-active policing, improving quality of investigation, and ensuring better preosecution

** Need for a sustained campagin, which would give respect to women

** Zero-tolerance against even small offences. Need to amend the Evidence Act so that statement of the victim recorded before the court is admissible.

** Molesters and eve-teasers should be made to undergo the same humilitation as women victims undergo.

** There should be a restriction on the number of people allowed access to a rape victim. The media should report the case sensitively

** Need for accountability among police force. Resident Welfare Societies can get together and launch a programme in their neighbourhood to deal with eve-teasing.

** Gender sensitisation workshops are needed more at co-educational colleges than girls' colleges.

First Published: Nov 01, 2003 23:45 IST