NCSC pulls up Noida police over Bhatta rape cases

‘Policemen continue to threaten victims disregarding Commission's directions'

The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) has written a stern letter — the second in 10 days — to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Noida, on the Bhatta rape cases, this time pulling him up for disregarding its directive to assign only a woman police officer to talk to the victims.

The rape cases hit the headlines after Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi alleged at the April 2011 farmers' agitation in the Noida villages of Bhatta and Parsaul that policemen had raped women and looted their homes. At that time, the allegation was met with scepticism.

However, on August 9, seven women from Bhatta had a meeting with Commission member Latha Priyakumar and confirmed the fact of the rapes. Ms. Priyakumar cross-checked the oral testimonies of the women with their sworn affidavits. Following this, the Commission gave written directions to the Senior Superintendent of Police, Noida, to register cases against the guilty policemen and assign only a “lady officer” to talk to the victims. The Commission was clear that “no male policeman should accompany the investigating lady officer.” It also asked the Senior Superintendent of Police to appear before Ms. Priyakumar and to file an “action taken” report within 15 days.

Women threatened

In the second letter, the Commission said it had a taken serious view of the Senior Superintendent of Police's disregard of its directions and the insensitivity to the victims, who continued to be threatened by male police officers visiting them at night: “The police personnel have threatened the women with dire consequences… Is time at night appropriate for investigation of the victims by male personnel?”

Ms. Priyakumar told The Hindu that the letter was in response to a plaintive message to the Commission from the women asking for security. The message said the Commission's directions were wasted on the Noida policemen, who “continue to forcibly enter our homes and threaten us with dire consequences. We fear for our lives, and so please protect us.”

Ms. Priyakumar said that when she first met the women, they were too terrified to open up. “They told me that they were constantly watched and had to take a detour through another village to reach the Commission. For many of the women, the trauma of rape has been made worse by the threats and visits of the policemen, who have spared no thought even for their little children.”

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 2:37:34 AM |

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