Woman sexually assaulted, tonsured and paraded in DelhiNEW DELHI January 28, 2022 02:59 IST
Nine members of a family — 7 women, 2 minors — held in the case; victim was attacked barely 50 m from a police booth
A 20-year-old married woman was sexually assaulted, tonsured, publicly shamed and paraded with a blackened face and a garland of shoes around her neck in Shahdara on Wednesday.
The horror unfolded in broad daylight at a spot barely 50 metres from a police booth. While the family of the woman claimed that the police reached the spot almost an hour and a half after a PCR call was made. The police however maintained that they rescued the victim within a few minutes of receiving the information. The woman was attacked over “personal enmity”, the police said.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Shahdara) R. Sathiyasundaram said a case under different sections of the IPC, including gang rape, abduction and wrongful confinement, has been registered. Seven women have been arrested and two minors (all from the same family) have been apprehended in the case. The police are looking for more suspects.
A senior police officer said the victim’s parents and the accused were neighbours and woman was in a relationship with a teenage boy belonging to the accused’s family. The boy killed himself in November last year and his family members blamed the woman for his death.
Abducted outside home
The accused abducted the woman from near her husband’s house in the Karkardooma area. They took her to their house and assaulted her in full public view. In some videos of the incident — recorded by the accused themselves — a group of women can be seen smearing black polish on the victim’s face, chopping off her hair and abusing her before parading her in the colony. People could be heard cheering and hooting while the woman was being violated.
Speaking to The Hindu , the victim’s 18-year-old sister said around 11 a.m., she had gone to her sister’s house, about a km away, to hand over some wheat. She suspects that the accused women were following her. “When my sister stepped out of her rented house, the women caught hold of her and forced her into an autorickshaw. I was so scared that I ran from there and reached my house,” the sister said. She said her father is paralysed and they were scared for their lives when the woman was being publicly humiliated outside their house.
The sister said she called the police for help immediately after reaching home. The woman’s husband was informed by their house owner and he too called the police for help, she added.
No officers at booth
She also alleged that no police officers were present at the police booth at the time of the incident. The police said all officers were busy in patrolling duty due to Republic Day arrangements.
Recalling the events that led to the incident, the woman’s sister-in-law said both the families were opposed to the relationship between the victim and the teenager because they belonged to the same ‘ gotra ’. Three years ago, when the victim was still a minor, she was married off to another man and she now has a two-year-old son.
Her family said the now deceased teenager had been chasing the victim even after her marriage and they had complained about it to their community’s head, but to no avail.
A neighbour who didn’t wish to be identified said on November 12, following a quarrel between the two families over the same matter, the accused’s son walked out of his house threatening to kill himself. The family followed him and while running on rail tracks nearby, the teenager was run over by a train. Since then, his family has been after the victim and her family’s life, the neighbour said.
Though a crowd can be seen in the viral videos of the incident, most residents in the area said on Thursday that they didn’t see anything. Another neighbour, requesting anonymity, said everyone in the locality is scared of the accused family because of their aggressive behaviour. He alleged that they sell illicit liquor for a living.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, East Delhi MP Gautam Gambhir, National Commission for Women chairperson Rekha Sharma and DCW head Swati Maliwal were among those who condemned the incident and asked for strong action against the accused.
“This is very shameful. How did the criminals get so much courage? I urge the Union Home Minister and the L-G to instruct the police to take strict action... Delhiites will not tolerate such heinous crime and criminals at any cost,” tweeted Mr. Kejriwal.