Jewar’s ‘Peepli Live’ moment: A gangrape-murder turned into a circus
In the alleged Jewar gang rape case of four women, no efforts were made by the local administration, police, public or the media to conceal the identity and whereabouts of the victims.Updated: May 27, 2017 14:29 IST
The alleged gang rape of four Jewar women has turned the town into a circus, with the secrecy regarding the identity of the victims — to be protected under law — thrown out of the window by police, politicians and the press.
The scenario is similar to the scenes of the 2010 Hindi film ‘Peepli Live’ that criticised the sensationalism of the press in dealing with human tragedy.
- Revealing the identity of the victim in a rape case is punishable under section 228A of the IPC.
- Usually in a rape case, the onus falls on the police and the media to ensure that the identity of the victim remains anonymous in order to save her from humiliation and stigma.
The incident pertains to the alleged gang rape of four women by a gang of highway robbers in Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Budh Nagar in the wee hours of Thursday. A male relative was shot dead when he tried to save them.
Since morning that day, a horde of TV channels’ Outside Broadcast (OB) vans and government vehicles were stationed outside the lane of the victims’ house near a private school in Jewar.
Such was the hullaballoo over the incident that when looking for the house of the victims, the standard response was: “Are you looking for the house of that gang raped family? It is just round the corner.”
On reaching the house of the victims, HT found a tent erected outside the building. A dozen plastic chairs were laid out neatly in the narrow lane for visitors.
Owners of nearby grocery shops treated police officers to cold drinks and snacks while crowd gathered outside the house through the day.
The grand arrangement leaves no space for imagination and it is a child’s play for any Jewar resident to guess the identity of the victims.
From morning to evening, the victims were questioned by the women police and press, and administrative officials such as additional district magistrate and sub divisional magistrate visited their house to comfort them.
But more than the officials, police or media, it was the local leaders who grabbed the opportunity to gain some limelight.
“There have been other rape cases in Jewar as well, but this is the first time that we asked the sisters to muster courage and register a complaint. We will make sure that the culprits pay,” said Riyaz Qureshi, who identified himself as a local activist.
Other activists and Muslim Ulema who had arrived from nearby Aligarh, Palwal and Bulandshahr also thronged the lane.
The youngest brother of the four in the victims’ family admitted that he was tired of giving bytes to mediapersons and receiving sympathy notes from politicians.
“I don’t want anything (compensation) from the government or the media. I have lost my elder brother in the robbery and the modesty of our women has been outraged. We have had enough of this drama, and now we just want justice,” he said.
The incident gained national spotlight as criticism rained in against the police and state machinery for their failure to curb sexual violence against women.
A preliminary medical examination has ruled out rape of four women. Gautam Budh Nagar’s chief medical officer Anurag Bhargav, however, said the final opinion will depend on a Lucknow laboratory’s forensic tests on the clothes and tissue samples of the women. The results will take three to four weeks.
SSP Love Kumar said the gang rape charge in the FIR will remain till the final forensic results are out and added that cops from neighbouring states have been roped in to nab the culprits.
First Published: May 27, 2017 14:27 IST