Modi, Mayawati Politicising Alwar Rape Got Me Justice: Survivor
On 26 April, 5 men gang-raped a Dalit woman in front of her husband, filmed the crime and circulated the video.
“Had my rape not been brought up by politicians like Narendra Modi and Mayawati, maybe I would have never got justice,” fumbles the 19-year-old Dalit woman, a Class 12 student, in Rajasthan’s Alwar, who dreams of joining the state police in future, the same institution which failed her a few days back.
Even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) continue to trade barbs over the case, the survivor, Manju (name changed), sits inside a dingy room of her one-storey house in a village near Thanagazi, shivering due to fever and breaking into tears every now and then. Her 21-year-old husband keeps reiterating the trauma of the 26 April afternoon to a flock of journalists, outside Manju’s room.
The Fateful Afternoon of 26 April
Here is how the fateful afternoon of 26 April and the days after unfolded for the young couple:
- On 26 April, Manju and her husband were passing NH52 on their bike, when they were waylaid by a gang of five bikers, taken to the side of the road behind a sand dune, and stripped naked.
- “Two of them were holding my hands, two others were raping my wife in front of my eyes and one was filming it in his phone. They were taking turns,” Manju’s husband says.
- The accused took away the Rs 2,000 he was carrying in his pocket, left the couple stranded and fled the crime scene. Leaving Manju at her paternal house, her husband came back to his own home but did not say anything. “They had threatened of making her video viral and murdering me brutally. I was scared.”
- A day later, out of fear, Manju’s husband left for Jaipur where he is currently pursuing ITI. Within two days, he started receiving threat calls from the main accused Chhote Lal to pay Rs 10,000, if he didn’t want his wife’s video to go viral.
- That is when the husband decided to inform his family. And with the help of the local MLA went to the office of the Superintendent of Police on 30 April. "We received a threat call even when sitting infront of the SP.”
Police Delayed Taking Action Due to Elections: Survivor’s Husband
The SP noted their statements but did not file an FIR. He marked the statement and sent them back to the Station House Officer. The SHO, too, investigated the matter for a day-and-a-half and then finally filed an FIR on 2 May.
On 4 May, something that the survivor’s husband feared happened. The video was made viral on all local WhatsApp groups by a man who was not one of the five accused.
The husband rushed to the SHO with his family but he was’t available to meet them. The survivor’s husband says the SHO told them to wait till the 6 May elections in the state get over, as till then there are not enough police personnel there.
Police have arrested all six accused in the case.
Felt Like Killing Them Myself When They Circulated My Video on WhatsApp: Survivor
Manju’s husband looks up, asks in a quivering voice, “It was bad what they did to my wife. Why did they (the accused) have to make my wife’s video viral? Everything is over.”
“Had the Rajasthan police acted on time, my family’s reputation would have been saved.”Survivor’s Husband
The survivor says she felt like killing the accused herself when she got to know that her video was made viral. This Class 12 student said she won’t be able to go back to her school. “I know it is not my fault, but how many people will I fight with?”
Jaipur Divisional Commissioner to Investigate Police Lapses
The Alwar SP was removed while the Thanagazi SHO was suspended after the case came to light. The Rajasthan government has appointed Jaipur Divisional Commissioner KC Verma as the investigating officer in the Alwar gang rape case.
"The state government has given the task to investigate the case to me. I will remain available for public hearing at the office of the subdivisional officer in Thanagazi on 16 May and at the Alwar circuit house on 17 May," Verma said.
He said any individual or organisation could come forward to present a memorandum related to the case from 10 am to 5 pm.
The Political Storm Over the Case
The political storm grew big over the alleged crime after the BJP started to protest against the Congress government. On Monday, 13 May, Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his charge that she was “shedding crocodile tears” over the Alwar gang rape incident and accused him of indulging in “dirty politics” and demanded his resignation for incidents of Dalit atrocities in the past.
When asked about her case being raised during election campaigning, the survivor said, “In a way, it is good. The police acted speedily because it was politicised.”
Her husband, however, holds a different view. “They are all just doing it for votes. Nobody cares about us.”
The Caste Rift Within the Survivor’s Village
When I reached a remote village, bordering the Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan’s Thanagazi. Failing to locate her house, I asked a passerby to help me find my way. “At the end of the village,” he replied peeping through my car’s window. “Can you please come along with us?” I insisted. He hesitates, “The villagers will see me. I am a Gurjar. They are Dalits.”
“Everyone but the Gurjars in the village have come paid a visit to know how we are doing after the incident became known,” Manju’s husband tells me as he gets ready to recount the ‘nightmarish’ afternoon to yet another journalist.
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