Four street-children told the committee they were witness to the incident
The Home Ministry has finally taken cognisance of the gang rape by some Delhi policemen that has been mentioned in the Justice Verma Committee report. Sources in the government say the Ministry has asked the Delhi Police to enquire into the incident and take “necessary action.”
Following the news report in The Hindu, “A gang rape Delhi policemen got away with?,” officials of the Ministry asked senior police officials to investigate the matter.
Though senior Ministry officials remained tight-lipped on the issue, the sources said the police have begun an “informal investigation” into the whole matter. When contacted, the Delhi Police spokesperson refused to comment on the issue.
The sources said the police would also discuss the issue with the three members of the committee — Mr. J.S. Verma, a former Chief Justice of India; the former Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court, Justice Leila Seth; and the former Solicitor-General of India, Gopal Subramaniam.
In its report– ‘Amendments to Criminal Law,’ the committee included the detailed interview of four street-children who stated that they were witness to a gang rape near some “place of worship” that involved three policemen deployed in a police control room (PCR) van.
Ironically, neither the Ministry nor the Delhi Police took cognisance of the case despite the committee report being submitted to the government almost a month ago. Informed sources said the Ministry officials concentrated only on the main recommendations of the report and subsequently came out with an ordinance to make rape laws more stringent. The officials apparently failed to go through the ‘Appendices’ of the 631-page report that carried the interview of the four trafficked children where they claimed that they had seen a gang rape where the three policemen abducted a girl from near a temple situated close to some old, vacant buildings and a ridge.
Though as per rules, the committee 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.
Mr. Subramaniam said that 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...We wanted to save them from the system,” he said.