'I Was Just 15...': Survivor Recalls Assault by BJP MLA Convicted of Rape

Ramdular Gond, BJP MLA in UP, was convicted for rape, criminal intimidation, and an offence under the POCSO Act.

4 min read
Hindi Female

(Trigger warning: This story mentions rape and sexual assault. *Some names have been changed to protect identity of the survivor.)

Over three hundred court hearings, lakhs of rupees, and countless threat calls — this was the cost of *Nisha's nine-year-long fight against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Ramdular Gond.

On 15 December, Gond, an MLA from Uttar Pradesh's Duddhi Assembly constituency, was convicted for rape, criminal intimidation, and an offence under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

"It's been a long time coming...I'm happy," Nisha said over the phone.

"I was just 14 years old when he first raped me in the forest near our village. For days I didn't even understand what had happened. He threatened that if I told anybody he'd kill my family," the 25-year-old added, her voice cracking.

After a brief pause, she continued, "And then he didn't stop at that. He raped me again and again and again...till one day I told my brother about it."


'Sold Our Land to Fight This Case'

In her court testimony, Nisha said that on the morning of 4 November 2014 when she was returning from the paddy field near her house after relieving herself, Gond and his men forcibly abducted her and took her to the fields where Gond, whose wife was the village pradhan at the time, raped her.

"That wasn't the first time he did it but that was the day I returned home and told my brother," she said.

Nisha alleged that in the year 2014, Gond raped her six times.

"These nine years weren't easy. Chappal ghis gaye police station aur court ke chakkar laga kar (We've frequented the police station and the court so much that our slippers tore off)," *Mahesh, Nisha's elder brother, told The Quint.

"Hume gareeb log hain...1.5 bigha zameen thi humaare paas, usme se ek bigha bechni padi case ki wajah se (We are poor people. We owned 1.5 bigha land, of which we were forced to sell one bigha to fight this case)," he added.

As the case progressed, it pushed Nisha's low-income family further into poverty. Once the investigation started, they were boycotted by their neighbours in the village which led to her father developing serious health issues.

"Nobody would say it but we knew they were all talking behind our backs," Nisha said. "He (Gond) used to live 1.5 km away from my house. Once the investigation started, the villagers stopped calling my family for weddings or other festivals. His wife was the village pradhan at that time. They were influential people," she added.

Ramdular Gond, BJP MLA in UP, was convicted for rape, criminal intimidation, and an offence under the POCSO Act.

BJP MLA Ramdular Gond.

(Photo: PTI)


A 'Botched-up' Investigation

On 12 December, additional district judge Ehsan Ullah Khan held the MLA guilty of raping Nisha in 2014 when she was a minor. Three days later, he sentenced Gond to 25 years imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 10 lakh on him.

The 26-page-long court order, accessed by The Quint, makes several references to lapses in primary investigation in the case.

  • First, a medical examination conducted by Dr Gita Jaiswar on 6 November 2014, two days after Nisha's complaint, did not mention that Nisha was pregnant at the time. However, an ultrasound report dated 12 January 2015 confirmed that she was three months pregnant.

  • Second, the order also points out that the role of Ramkali, a resident of the same village as the survivor and the convict, was not thoroughly investigated. As per Nisha's testimony, Gond assaulted her multiple times either in the fields or at Ramkali's house. "Ramkali would tell my family that she wants my held in the field and then hand me over to him (Gond)," read Nisha's testimony stated in the court order.

"Why was Ramkali not made a co-accused in the case?" questioned Vikas Shakya, the survivor's lawyer. "When I took over the case from the public prosecutor, I noticed that it was progressing at a very slow pace. In fact, it wasn't progressing at all. The convict is an influential man in that area. They first threatened us, then offered money, then tried to prove that the survivor is not a minor...basically they tried every trick in the book to escape but in the end, we won," Shakya told The Quint.

Gond was elected an MLA for the first time in 2022. Before this, he held the position of the village pradhan for 10 years.


Threats, Intimidation, Slander

On the face of it, Nisha's life has changed a lot over the last nine years. "This case meant that I grew up too fast. I dropped out of school in class nine, stopped stepping out of my house, and had given up all hopes to have a normal future but then I got married..." she sighed.

But it wasn't the marriage that Nisha had always dreamt of.

"My husband and in-laws are good people. They accepted me despite the case. But that case never really left me. When his (Gond) threats didn't work on my brother and my parents, he started threatening my in-laws. Even they stood by me and I thank God every day for that," she added.

Despite the support from her husband and in-laws, Nisha had given up the hope for justice a few years ago.

"Initially she would call me every few weeks to check on the status of the case but then she stopped," recalled her brother Mahesh who was fighting the case alone over the last few years. "I don't blame her for that. Nothing was happening and it was important for her to focus on her family," he added.

Ironically, even on 15 December, Nisha was the last person in the family to find about about Gond's conviction.

"Uske yahaan network aur bijli ka problem ki dikkat rehti hai. Kabhi phone lagta hai kabhi nahi. 15 ko bhi shaam mein baat ho paayi (There is an electricity and network issue in her area. We never know when her phone will be reachable and when not. Even on 15, we could only inform her late at night)," Mahesh said.

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Topics:  BJP   Sexual Assault   Gender 

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