A tribal woman in her early thirties has been allegedly gangraped on Friday in Surguja district of Chattisgarh. The woman was at home with her nine month old baby girl when three men came in and allegedly raped her, the villagers told The Hindu on phone. Both the husband and father-in-law of the woman were out of house at the time of the incident. Police registered a complaint under a “less stringent section” of Indian Penal Code (IPC) on Friday, villagers said. After the issue was raised by a local journalist, police visited the woman’s house on Monday and spoke to the family.

Around 8 a.m. on Friday, three men who work as casual workers in Bilaspur village barged into the victim's hut and gang-raped her. The woman registered a complaint at the local Batauli police station.

The town inspector (TI) of the police station and another male constable interrogated her. A case was registered under Section 354 of IPC for “intent to outrage women’s modesty.”

After the issue was raised by a social media activist and scribe Prakash Gupta of Bilaspur, using voice-based portal, CG Net Swara, district police officers spoke to the journalist on Monday. Eventually, a team led by a woman sub-inspector visited the rape victim and her family. However, Mr Gupta questioned the inspector’s initial reluctance to register the case under a more stringent section.

“Why would the TI register a case under a lenient section like 354, ignoring a much robust rape law, 376,” asks Mr Gupta. Absence of a female officer during the first round of interrogation of the tribal woman is also “objectionable,” said Mr Gupta and added that “no medical test has been conducted so far.”

Surguja SP, P Sundarraj told The Hindu that on basis of the initial complaint, a case of misbehaviour was suspected by the local officer and so a case was registered under Section 354. But a team led by a woman sub-inspector of Surguja has been sent to Bilaspur village to investigate the Friday incident.

“The team will report back to me by night and Section 376 can be incorporated on basis of their report,” Mr Sundarraj said.