Araria Court Grants Bail to Rape Victim Jailed for ‘Contempt’

The local court has denied bail to two social workers who were also arrested along with the rape survivor.

Published
India
3 min read
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On Friday, 17 July, a local court granted bail to a 22-year-old rape survivor in Bihar’s Araria district, who was earlier sent to jail for contempt of court and ‘obstructing government servants from discharging their duty’ among other charges. However, the court denied bail to the two social workers who were also arrested along with her, Hindustan Times reported.

The complainant, at the Araria women’s police station, had alleged that she was gang-raped on 6 July after which an FIR was registered.

The rape survivor was asked to record her statement before a magistrate, for which, as per the police, she appeared with two social workers from NGO Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan.

WHY WERE THE THREE ARRESTED?

According to a report in The Indian Express, it is alleged that the woman raised her voice and refused to sign on the statement, until it was read out to her.

Further, the FIR registered against the three women mentioned that the accused “insulted the presiding officer” by allegedly misbehaving with him.

The FIR reads, “While recording their statement, the accused trio insulted the presiding officer by misbehaving with him and tried to obstruct the proceedings of the court. The survivor refused to sign the written statement saying that she would not sign until Kalyani and Tanmay have read it,” ThePrint’s report added.

The accused trio was reportedly charged under Sections 353, 228 of the IPC snd under Sections 188,180, 120 (B) of the Contempt of Court Act.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by the said NGO mentioned that the court “mistook” the “nervousness” of the survivor for an insult.

ABOUT THE INCIDENT

In her complaint, the woman alleged that a man she knew, on the pretext of teaching her how to ride a bike, took her to a deserted road near a canal, instead of dropping her home on 6 July.

Soon after, three unknown men came and forced her to sit on the bike and took her to a secluded place. Later, another man joined them and all four of them allegedly gang-raped the complainant.

Medical checkup of the woman was conducted on 7 and 8 July. As of now, the police has arrested one of the accused.

A number of senior advocates, including Indira Jaising, Prashant Bhushan and others had written to the Chief Justice of the Patna High Court, recognising the need to “infuse the incident with some sensitivity” by taking the survivor’s fragile condition into consideration.

‘UNWARRANTED’: AMNESTY TAKES NOTE

While taking note of the matter, Amnesty International India said that the imprisonment of the three women amid COVID-19 was “unwarranted and excessive”.

“The week-long incarceration of a 22-year-old gang-rape survivor and two social workers assisting her amidst COVID-19 in Bihar was unwarranted and excessive. On 17 July, the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Araria granted bail to the survivor but upheld the detention of the social workers. Rape survivors already face numerous barriers in seeking redress, which go above and beyond the trauma they have experienced. Each case of sexual violence must be dealt with utmost precaution,” Avinash Kumar,
executive director, Amnesty International India said.

Commenting on the reportage of local media outlets in Araria, the organisation stated that the revelation of the rape survivor’s identity shows a lack of gender-sensitivity.

Meanwhile, Reena Tete, manager, Gender and Identity-based Violence Programme, said that the needs of a survivor must be “heeded and not criminalised” and urged that the social workers must be released immediately.

‘INSENSITIVE, ABSURD, UNJUST’: SOCIAL MEDIA REACTS TO THE ARRESTS

Soon after the three women were arrested, several Twitter users called the move “insensitive, unjust and disturbing.”

(With inputs from Hindustan Times, ThePrint, The Indian Express)

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