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Updated: February 20, 2013 03:08 IST

A gang rape Delhi policemen got away with?

Sandeep Joshi
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Justice J.S.Verma, Former Chief Justice of India
The Hindu
Justice J.S.Verma, Former Chief Justice of India

Panel made details of incident, witnessed by street-children, part of its report

It is almost a month since the Justice Verma Committee came out with its recommendations to make laws more stringent to deal with crimes against women, particularly sexual assault cases. Though the government acted swiftly by bringing out an ordinance to make amendments in criminal laws, it seems to have overlooked some crucial portions of the report which level grave charges against the Delhi police, including an incident of gang rape involving cops deployed in a PCR van.

During the course of preparing the report – ‘Amendments to Criminal Law,’ the three-member committee, headed by the former Chief Justice of India, J.S. Verma, with the former Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh, Justice Leila Seth, and the former Solicitor General of India Gopal Subramaniam as its members, while interviewing four street-children were told that they were witness to a gang rape involving three cops near some “place of worship.”

Though as per rules, the committee, constituted through a Government of India’s gazette notification, was bound to lodge a formal compliant with the police in this regard, it chose to keep mum fearing for the safety of these kids.

“But we made the exhaustive interview a part of the report to show the deeper malaise in the system… the report is now with the Ministry of Home Affairs and it is they who have to act on it,” Mr. Subramaniam told The Hindu.

Tucked in the ‘Appendices’ of the 631-page report is the detailed transcript of the interview of four trafficked children who are also victims of sexual violence and drug abuse. During their conversation with the committee members, they point to a gang rape where three cops in a PCR van abducted a girl from near a temple situated close to some old, vacant buildings and a ridge.

Without mentioning the place, date or time when the alleged gang-rape took place, it states that these kids saw the girl being forcibly dragged inside the PCR van that was driven inside a jungle. One of the cops muzzled the girl who was crying for help. These kids followed the van and saw the girl being raped by the cops for almost two hours. Later they dumped the girl and fled from the spot. The scared kids did not tell anyone as they feared for their lives, the street-children’s testimony in the report states.

Asked why the committee did not report this to the police, Mr. Subramaniam said they (members) did discuss the issue and then unanimously decided not to pursue it as the safety and security of the children was their primary concern. “We debated this issue…It was a moving moment for us. We did not file a case as these kids come from the weaker sections of society… we wanted to protect their identity as we feared that police might launch some kind of vendetta against them,” he noted.

‘Not surmises’

Pointing out that the testimonies of the kids were “not surmises but hard facts,” Mr. Subramaniam said: “We wanted to save them from the system. These kids have exposed so many criminal irregularities prevalent in the system, be it the juvenile home or the cruel face of the Delhi police. These kids were subjected to domestic violence, drug abuse and other social evils… we did not want to make life more difficult for them.”

Mr. Subramaniam, however, said they deliberately made this interview and another interaction with a trafficked girl a part of the report to highlight the serious problems in the system.

“Though it has almost been a month, neither the Home Ministry nor the Delhi police have come forward to inquire about this case [gang rape by cops] or other cases mentioned,” he noted.

I am also surprised why the Justice Verma Committee did not highlight the PCR van incident to the public & they did not lodge a complaint. It seems they were wise not to file a complaint to avoid any mudslinging as the CAG is subjected to in the aftermath of 2G scam or they feared for the backlash/criticism from the ruling party who did everything ugly to justify the recent police action against peaceful demonstrators in India Gate & to deny/mislead the public & the Court over the inhuman lathi charging & firing at innocent sleeping men & women at Ramlila Grounds last year. Congress leaders like Sri Digvijay Singh & I&B Minister Sri Tiwari would not have tolerated any adverse remarks against Delhi Police. However, it is hoped that the Govt will dig into the matter such that the erring policemen get punished. If they cannot identify the offenders, Police chief must be penalized by stopping his annual increment or issuing a censure as he is responsible for the misdeeds of his force.

from:  SR Sankaran
Posted on: Feb 20, 2013 at 18:57 IST

That the members did discuss the issue and then 'unanimously decided
not to pursue it' as the safety and security of the children was their
primary concern, shows why the vulnerable sections of the society
subjected to such brutalities, do not come forward to lodge
complaints/expose the criminal elements within the law enforcement
wing of the society. In such a state of all round helplessness against
lawlessness permeated into the 'system', where are we being led? That
in a democracy where VVIPs enjoy elaborate security cover at a huge
cost to the nation, a few children's safety and security, for exposing
the culprits, cannot be guaranteed by the state, is indeed revolting.

from:  Shekar
Posted on: Feb 20, 2013 at 17:21 IST

Let us not sit over in judgment over the alleged failure of the three eminent persons of the Justice Verma Committee to report to the police the rape incident as narrated by four young boys. Any person with a bit of commonsense and forethought would have done the same thing but they did mention the fact in their report to the Government. It is high time we do a little bit of introspection to find out the root cause for the decadence in our moral and ethical values apart from flouting established laws of the land with impunity by the rich with money power. It is these very rich and powerful which has a predominant say on policies relating to economy of the nation promoting their own interest at the expense of the poor. The situation calls for a radical change in every sphere of activity which can be brought about only by the younger generation imbued with fresh ideas in a spirit of dedicated service to the nation.It is time now for the older generation to retire from office gracefully

from:  TS Sreenivasan
Posted on: Feb 20, 2013 at 15:51 IST

This is so shocking. Why can't the Chief Justice of India and other top
members of the judiciary ensure safety of these children. This is
indeed sad state of governance. Home Ministry and Delhi Police must
take action. Those policemen should be hanged.

from:  Raman Verma
Posted on: Feb 20, 2013 at 15:08 IST

These street children go through so many wonder some of them will take to crime if they survive these ordeals.
And then society will punish them with death penalty to set an example and deterrent for its own benefit. And disregarding society's own role in making of the criminal. How convenient!

from:  Sandeep Garg
Posted on: Feb 20, 2013 at 13:51 IST

What is happening to our society? Gang rape , No action by state or police and No security concern of the abused children. Government has to take some concrete steps to bring law and order in such cases. Police should take the accountability of the case and must carry out investigation. There are lot of loop holes in system that make such crimes happen. We too are equally responsible for situation. Our intellectual behavior is on the verge of complete end. we are reluctant to take the moral responsibility of society. The change or rather reformation in all the elements of society is the need of time .

from:  Saurabh Dongare
Posted on: Feb 20, 2013 at 09:58 IST

It is indeed sad when there comes a time when judges do not take up the issue of police rapes.

If the law enforcers themselves commit such crimes, who can the public turn to.

It is time that only people with high integrity and respect for other human beings are selected for the role of law enforcement.To keep them from being corrupt, their wages should be such that they are tempted to cheat. Free school education and health benefits should be provided for the law enforcers and regular surprise checks should be made to keep them honest.

Anyone who violates the trust and confidence of the society they are supposed to protect, should immediately be named and shamed and stripped of all benefits.

Do the Indian politicans or Public Leaders have the stomach to enact such rules?

from:  Bob Paalep
Posted on: Feb 20, 2013 at 08:07 IST

How are things going to change if incidents like these are going to be swept under the
carpet?? The government should provide some form of security for victims like these. The
whole systems a mess, how did it get in this state? It really breaks my heart, so great full my
children and I have so much more freedom and sense of security living in the so called BAD

from:  Anita
Posted on: Feb 20, 2013 at 04:48 IST

Most shocking. I am dismayed that the committee felt helpless. Was it beyond the
prowess of the committee to ensure their protection first and initiate the duty the Law
imposes on it?

Or, could not the committee insist on the Home Ministry initiate the right steps?
If this is the state of affairs, what hope lies for the poor, the meek and the

from:  Soundararajan Srinivasa
Posted on: Feb 20, 2013 at 04:16 IST

If the biggest law makers don't report crime due to fear of police than think about common people.

from:  Vivek Agarwal
Posted on: Feb 20, 2013 at 03:46 IST
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