Namkum police station that did not register the FIR of the rape victim on Tuesday
India’s stronger anti-rape laws in the wake of the Delhi gang rape have not managed to effectively help similar victims across the country because police stations haven’t kept pace, a 15-year-old Ranchi girl found to her dismay.
The tribal teenager of Lowadih in Namkum’s Chutia area commuted over 30km from the police station near home to the thana at Itki on Tuesday to register an FIR against unidentified youths who raped her on Monday evening.
The reason why the gang-rape victim and her relatives were ferried by a Namkum police vehicle to its Itki counterpart 30km away was because she was violated there. While police jurisdiction was upheld, the victim’s relief went for a toss and her medical examination was delayed.
Ranchi SP (city) Manoj Ratan said technically, the statement of a victim can be recorded at any thana and sent for FIR registration to any other police station, but this seldom happens. “After 5pm, it’s difficult to get a doctor for medical examination. Plus, the whole process takes time,” he said, hinting at lack of coordination between police stations.
The girl and her relatives spent Tuesday night at Itki police station from where she was brought on Wednesday morning to Sadar Hospital in the heart of the capital, for medical examination, and then taken to Kutchery, before the court of judicial magistrate, S.D. Tripathi.
The tribal girl, a school dropout from a poor family, said she was raped late on Monday evening by a dozen youths in Itki, while she was returning home after a wedding.
Apparently, on her way to board the bus meant for the wedding party around 8.30pm, her mouth was muffled and she was dragged off by some men, who took turns to rape her for the next 30 minutes.
In the dark, she could neither identify the rapists nor keep track of how many they were, she said. When they left her, she somehow managed to reach the bus and reached home late on Monday.
It seems the girl and her family took the next few hours to muster up courage to report the incident. At Namkum police station, they were directed to Itki. By the time the girl, her parents and a few relatives reached Itki, it was 10pm. “The girl’s statement was recorded by 10.30pm. It was too late for medical examination,” Itki OC Chandra Mani Bharti said.
When contacted, Namkum OC Vinod Kumar said the girl reached his thana on Tuesday a little before 9pm with “eight to 10 of her relatives and others”. “She said she was raped at Itki the night before. We thought it proper to send her to Itki police station. We reached her to Itki in our own vehicle,” he stressed.
In reply to why Kumar did not record her statement, he said: “If we did, it would have been our duty to take care of her medico-legal formalities. We thought it proper for the investigating officer of the case (in Itki) to do so.”
State women’s commission chairperson Mahua Maji said she had despatched a fact-finding team to Itki on Wednesday. “I am keeping a close watch on the situation. We shall take all steps once our team submits its report. The commission won’t be found wanting,” she said.
How can police change their attitude towards rape victims?