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13-year-old gang rape victim demands permission for suicide

The girl said that she is tired of police inaction and the ignominy her family is facing everyday with the accused roaming free.

jaipur Updated: Jul 06, 2018 21:11 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Bharatpur
The victim, a resident of a village under Kaman police station area, has alleged that she was sexually assaulted by two of her neighbours. (Reuters/ Representative image)

A 13-year-old gang-rape victim and her father on Friday sought permission from officials in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur district to commit suicide “of their own free will”. The father-daughter duo said they are tired of police inaction and the ignominy they were facing everyday with the accused roaming free and thus wanted to end their lives.

The duo submitted a memorandum to Kaman’s sub-divisional magistrate Suresh Yadav, who said he has directed the police officials to immediately arrest the accused.

The victim, a resident of a village under Kaman police station area, has alleged that she was sexually assaulted by two of her neighbours, whoalso tried to abduct her earlier this months. Her father lodged a complaint with the police on June 11 based on which an FIR under Section 376 (rape) and 506 (criminal intimidation) and Protection of Children from Sexual Offence (POCSO) Act was registered against the two named accused. The girl alleged that the local police failed to act on their complaint and nearly a month later, both the accused are still at large.

Talking to media outside the SDM’s official residence, the minor said that one of the accused, Arjun Singh, used to pass obscene comments at her. “He also molested me several times on way to school and threatened me with dire consequences. His aunt called me to her house on February 26 this year. When I reached there, she locked me in a room where Arjun Singh and his cousin Satyendra Singh took turns raping me. Two of their other brothers stood guard,” the girl said.

The accused, she alleged, threatened to kill her family members if she told anyone about the rape. “Fearing ignominy and fearing for my family members, I kept silent. They had also threatened to rape my younger sister.”

The girl alleged that the accused tried to abduct her on June 10 but she was saved by her family members. The accused, she alleged, managed to escape.

It was only after the botched abduction attempt that the girl told her family about her ordeal following which they lodged a complaint.

Her father alleged that despite registering the complaint, police did not initiate any action against the accused who continue to threaten the family. “My daughter is scared. She has already attempted to commit suicide several times. We keep her under constant watch,” the father said. “We want justice and immediate legal action against those who ruined my family and daughter,” he said.

The girl said if police failed to arrest the accused immediately she would end her life.

“It has been nearly a month and the accused have not been arrested and neither has any action been taken against them. We are living a life of ignominy while the perpetrators of the crime against my daughter are roaming free. We are tired of all this and now we want your permission to commit suicide,” the father said in his memorandum to the SDM.

The SDM confirmed that he has received an application from a minor victim of gang rape seeking permission to commit suicide. “I have directed circle officer, Kaman, to arrest the accused,” the SDM said.

Circle officer Rai Singh Beniwal said a police team is conducting raids in the village and at several other places and the accused would be arrested soon.

The medical examination of victim has been conducted and her statement recorded, he said.

Rajasthan has remained in news with several incidents of rapes of minor girls being reported. Three rapes were reported in a single day on July 4 —the most horrific being that of a three-year-old who was picked by a 23-year-old neighbor from outside her house in Jaipur and raped. The same day in Bikaner, a woman filed a complaint against her neighbour accusing him of raping her 8-year-old daughter.

The third incident was also reported from Jaipur, where the mother of a 12-year-old registered a case of rape against the girl’s step-father.

Prior to that on June 21, a seven-year-old girl who had been visiting her grandfather’s village in Barmer was raped and murdered.

According to the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) 2016 report, the cases of crimes against children have shown a steady rise in Rajasthan. The state recorded 4,034 such cases in 2016, which is 3.8 per cent of the crimes against children (98,344) registered across the country. It stands fourth in the crime against women category.

In 2015, the state had registered 3,689 cases of crime against children, which increased by 345 in the year under review. As per the NCRB data, state police registered 728 cases of child rape in 2015, which increased to 858 in 2016.

Home minister Gulab Chand Kataria had in February claimed that crime against women had reduced by 12 per cent in the state between 2013 and 2017.

In March, Rajasthan approved a bill providing for the death penalty to those convicted of raping girls under 12 years of age. The Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2018 seeks to add section 376-AA in the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which will be defined as: “Punishment for rape on a woman up to twelve years of age. Whoever commits rape on a woman up to twelve years of age shall be punished with death, or rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than fourteen years but which may extend to imprisonment for life which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life, and shall also be liable to fine.”

Two amendments were made in the bill including that the convict cannot leave the prison for life even after completing 14 years of sentence.

First Published: Jul 06, 2018 21:11 IST