As many as seven women from Bhatta village in Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh have alleged in writing to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) that they were raped by policemen who looted their houses and threatened to kill any family member who dared to complain against the “heinous crime.”
The Hindu has a copy of the minutes of the August 9 meeting between the seven women and NCSC member Latha Priyakumar. In the minutes, Ms. Priyakumar notes that the policemen visited the village homes on a “nightly basis” causing “deep mental trauma to the women who are there without their men folk.” Ms. Priyakumar says initially the women were reluctant to acknowledge the fact of the rapes in writing but they agreed to submit affidavits after the Commission explained that it would need corroborative evidence to act in the matter. The NCSC has since written to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Noida, asking him to register cases against the policemen. It has also given the names of the women and their addresses.
In May this year, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi had created a stir by alleging that rampaging policemen had looted homes and raped women in Bhatta. Not many believed him at the time, and indeed Minister for Women and Child Welfare Krishna Tirath told the Rajya Sabha on August 12 that there was no confirmation of the rape allegations. Obviously Ms. Tirath was unaware that just three days earlier seven Bhatta women had confirmed the rape in testimonies to the NCSC.
According to Ms. Priyakumar, the police personnel forcibly took the women inside their homes and raped them. They also left a warning that anyone making a complaint would be framed in false cases and also killed.
She says, “All these women were weeping bitterly while narrating the shameful act which the Police Personnel committed. Some of them also complained that they forcibly took away their money and smashed their household articles. The women were telling that their families are very much scared due to the reign of terror unleashed by the Police Personnel and they were asking for protection. It was also alleged that the males of the families who had fled away due to the Police fear had not yet returned to their homes.”