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Rewari Rape Accused Nishu Molested Me a Year Ago, Alleges Woman

In the village of the 19-year-old rape survivor, The Quint spoke to a woman who claims a naked Nishu attacked her.

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Women
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Would Nishu – the key accused in the Rewari gang rape and the man said to have orchestrated the crime on 12 September – have been able to orchestrate it, if he had been arrested as he should’ve been, a year ago?

Fresh information unearthed by The Quint reveals the allegation that Nishu had molested a woman almost exactly a year ago in the same village that the 19-year-old survivor stays in. A complaint had allegedly also been registered in the local police station at Nahar, but the case had reportedly been hushed up.

When The Quint visited the survivor’s village on 29 September, this correspondent learnt, through conversations with multiple women in the hamlet, that the panchayat had quashed a case against Nishu when a woman had alleged sexual harassment last year.

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After inquiries at various homes in the village, The Quint tracked down the woman, who lives in a small cluster of settlements in the dusty outskirts of the village, with her family.

‘Nishu Was Naked When He Grabbed Me’

According to the woman, who has three daughters and one son, she had been out in the fields, picking cotton, with five other women, in September of last year. These women had gone a little way ahead, and the woman (we’ll call her M*) had ventured to a corner of the fields where "the grass was greener".

It was about 5.30-6 pm. I was busy running my scythe through the grass, when suddenly a man came up from behind me. He held both my hands firmly behind my back and started to grab me in a chokehold. I turned and realised that it was Nishu from our village. I also saw that he was entirely naked; he had taken off his underwear and left it hanging on a nearby tree. I screamed and the five women who’d accompanied me, came running from the other end of the fields. Nishu panicked and ran away.
M*

M* claims that she and her companions attempted to follow Nishu with scythes in their hands, but that he had disappeared into the fields.

After this happened, I went back home and began to cry. My husband wasn’t at home, but I told my children what had happened. All the men in the neighbourhood gathered around me.

When asked if Nishu was ever found, she alleges that he wasn’t and that he appeared to have fled. She claims that the men in her household went to Nishu’s house in the village (who lives some distance from her) and demanded to know where he was. “People at Nishu’s home, however, said that he wasn’t inside, and that he had gone to his mama’s (maternal uncle’s) house.”

How the Case Was Allegedly Hushed Up

M* alleges that she had then gone to Nahar Police Station, which is closest to the village, to file an FIR.

A policewoman called Resham heard my story and said – ‘Sirf haath hi pakda tha, na? Aur kuch toh nahi kiya tha?’ (‘He just grabbed your hands, right? He didn’t do anything else?’). The policewoman suggested that the case be resolved within the village, by the panchayat.

M* claims that she narrated her ordeal to the panchayat, but that “aadmi logo ne aapas mein hi faisla kar liya tha” (“the menfolk reached a decision amongst themselves”).

That is all I ever heard of the matter. My case never reached the courts and no action was ever taken against Nishu.

When The Quint asked her if she would be willing to file a fresh complaint against the accused, she said that she would be, adding, “Hum zaroor shikayat karenge, humari bhi izzat hai. Jo aise gande kaam karenge, unki shikayat toh hogi hi” (“I will certainly complain, my self-respect is important to me. People who commit such horrendous atrocities must be stood up against.”)

This correspondent also asked her if she had heard about the gang rape of a 19-year-old woman in her village – allegedly by the same man she claims molested her – and M* asserts that she has.

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What the Police Says

The Quint checked with the alleged survivor to ensure that she wanted the matter escalated, and with her emphatic consent, subsequently informed Nazneen Bhasin, Nuh Superintendent of Police (SP) and Head of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that has been constituted to bring the perpetrators in the Rewari gang rape to book.

The SIT has, since commencing investigations into the gang rape case, arrested 8 persons (including three key accused who were said to have participated in the gang rape – Nishu, Pankaj and Manish).

Sources in the SIT had previously told The Quint that they had heard rumours of Nishu having harassed other women in the survivor's village, but that “no victim has been willing to come forward”.

Upon receiving The Quint’s information, Bhasin said,

In such a case, Nahar Police Station should have filed the woman’s FIR and carried out an investigation, instead of referring it to the gaon panchayat. I will speak to Rewari SP Rahul Sharma to immediately visit the woman and initiate fresh proceedings.

This correspondent has since been contacted by Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Anil Kumar of Nahar Police Station, Haryana, and the latter has confirmed that a team will visit the woman as soon as possible to identify the veracity of her claims and to carry out an investigation.

This story will be updated as further developments emerge.

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