Exclusive: Muzaffarnagar Rape Survivor ‘Threatened’ to Settle Case

“If something happens to my family, the govt and the administration will be responsible,” the rape survivor says.

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Seven Muslim women had filed rape cases after the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots. Five years later, only Aafreen’s* case remains in the court, and she says the cost of her fight for justice is wearing her down.

Rape Accused ‘Threatened’ Women to Compromise

A few days before Diwali (7 November) this year, the family members of the three rape accused visited Aafreen’s house to strike a compromise. The survivor and the accused knew each other. Living in Muzaffarnagar’s Lakh village for generations, Afreen’s husband Ahmed* used to stitch clothes for the families of the accused. 

The Quint, in the following two articles, Muzaffarnagar Riots: The ‘Deal’ That Saved 32 Alleged Rapists and How Courts and Kin Failed 5 Muslim Rape Survivors in Muzaffarnagar, had exposed how five other rape survivors from the Muzaffarnagar riots had agreed to a compromise. The deals were struck with payments to the survivors, and the women had kept silent in the name of societal harmony, letting 22 men off the hook for alleged rape.

Aafreen has held on to her fight even though the other women gave up. But the recent visit of the relatives of the rape accused has scared the family although they were not at their Kandhla home when the visitors arrived.

The Quint spoke to Nizami*, Aafreen’s neighbour in Kandhla who had spoken to the rape accused’s relatives when they had come asking for information. He said the Jats (the rape accused) had come to strike a compromise in the rape case and told him: “'They are your neighbours, your relatives (implying closeness). If possible, orchestrate a compromise somehow. If there are payments that need to be made, then we will do that as well’.”

Displaced and Relocated But Never Home

Aafreen and her husband were among the 60,000 people who were displaced after the communal Muzaffarnagar riots. After losing their home, the family moved to Kandhla in Uttar Pradesh the same year. They had hoped to start afresh, but the family has struggled since.

Aafreen’s husband said that returning to Lakh village in Muzaffarnagar was not a choice. He had left everything behind to “never look back again.”

“Since the riots in Lakh village, I never looked back again as the situation was tense. Going back was a long shot, we didn't even think about it. Now Kandhla is our home and this is where we will stay. But even after coming here, they (rape accused) are putting pressure on us. Where do we go from here?,” he told The Quint.

Eventually, an NGO named ANHAD helped Aafreen and her children move to Delhi in 2015 over safety concerns. While her children now study in Delhi, Aafreen alternatives between her ‘home’ in Kandhla and Delhi.


All Allegations are Lies, Says Family of Rape Accused

Back in Lakh village, The Quint spoke to the relatives of the rape accused, Tejpal Singh and Malkhan Singh, who had gone to meet Aafreen with the intention of settling the matter out of court.

Both of them agreed that they wanted the rape case to be settled, like the other five cases. “We know that the cases from Fugana village had reached a compromise. So we thought even ours could be dealt with. The issue would end. And from a societal perspective, we went there so that the issue gets resolved,” Singh said.

The rape accused’s brother, Pradeep Malik, claimed that the allegations were lies because the women wanted Rs 5 lakh, which had been given as compensation to the victims. “That’s why they did this,” he said.

“All this is a lie, this was reported 6 months later, everyone knows. There is no truth to it. This is a headache of sorts. If a compromise happens, it’s alright. Otherwise we are still fighting the case.”
Pradeep Malik, Rape Accused’s Brother

Meanwhile, for Aafreen and her family, the questions remain: Will the government intervene to ensure their safety? Will Aafreen's case fall flat like the other rape survivors’? And lastly, will justice remain a distant dream?

* The names of the rape survivor and her family members have been changed to protect their identities.

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