Noorjahan Siddiqui, a counsellor at My Choices, an NGO working for women’s welfare in the Old City, says in many cases the poor rape victims do not lodge complaints for fear of harassment
Even as the entire nation is rallying behind the Delhi gang-rape victim and crying for stringent laws, including capital punishment for the rapists, a poor woman from the city who was raped allegedly by two persons last year is living in constant fear and awaiting justice.
Her only fault: she dared to complain against those who sexually assaulted her.
“They (the accused) constantly abuse me over phone and threaten to kill me and my children,” she says. Receiving such threat calls has become a routine for her.
It was on March 12 last year that the woman first approached the police complaining that Azam and Chand, who reside near Dabeerpura, had taken Rs. 20,000 from her promising to get a house allotted under the Indiramma scheme. “I demanded that they return my money when they failed to get the sanction for the house and approached the Rein Bazaar police.
The police summoned them to the station and took an undertaking for returning the money. But soon after, Azam and Chand called me on the pretext of settling the matter. They confined me to a house, beat me up and raped me,” the 30-year-old woman recounts.
The next morning, she lodged a complaint at Dabeerpura station against Azam, Chand and four others -- Imran, Syed Mohammed, Hasmath and Naser. The accused six were arrested after they were framed under rape charges (crime number 56/2012) under sections 376, 354, 506, 109 (read with 34) of Criminal Law Amendment Act.
Tales of woe
But then, her travails mounted after the arrested persons came out on bail. She claims they began harassing and threatening her. Their threats intensified as she was summoned to the police station. The woman had another problem on her hand: she did not want the locality people to know that she was raped.
She stopped working at a beauty parlour in Santoshnagar, as the accused persons used to come and pester her.
They started calling on her phone. The threats got louder. They would threaten to kill her four children and her too. Changing the phone number did not help her. “Despite changing two telephone numbers, I was getting the threat calls,” recalls the hapless woman.
She knocked the Saidabad police doors again, only to be told that she change the phone number again to avoid harassment. Here she faced another predicament: the Dabeerpura police, who are investigating the rape case, wanted her to retain the same number since it was in police and court records.
When contacted, the Dabeerpura Inspector, D.V. Ranga Reddy, said that all the accused were arrested and charge-sheeted. “Trial will begin soon,” he said. On her complaint of threat calls, he says a formal complaint has to be lodged at the police station area in which she lives now.
Noorjahan Siddiqui, a counsellor at My Choices, an NGO working for women’s welfare in the Old City, says in many cases the poor rape victims do not lodge complaints for fear of harassment.
“The accused go scot-free. Even if a complaint is lodged, the case is not taken to its logical conclusion on account of poverty and illiteracy,” says Ms. Siddiqui.
The distressed woman ekes out her living by working as a house maid.