The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Riot taint on friends & police

Ahmedabad, Sept. 25: On March 3, 2002, 14 of her relatives were killed and she was gangraped and left for dead by a marauding mob. She regained consciousness three days later.

When 24-year-old Bilkis Yakub Rasool, four months’ pregnant, regained consciousness, she was surrounded by the bodies of relatives who had been killed before her own eyes. Her two-year-old child had been snatched from her arms and beheaded, and her sisters, aunts and mother were raped.

The culprits were known to Rasool, who used to supply milk before marriage. She named the culprits, but there was no mention of rape in the statement recorded by police. The murderers were not named either. Her statement was found to be “true’’, but police closed the “undetected’’ case as no evidence had been found against the accused, all well-known faces in Panivela village.

Rasool had lost all hope of getting justice until she approached the National Human Rights Commission in July, seeking a fresh trial outside Gujarat and investigation by the CBI.

Her case has been reopened after the Supreme Court, acting on the panel’s appeal, directed the state government to submit documents relating to the case.

Rasool and her family members were forced to flee their village of Radhinkpur after Muslim houses were attacked on March 1 last year. They kept moving for two days without food and water. Completely exhausted when they reached Panivela village, they thought the worst was over.

When a truck full of people from their village and a few outsiders appeared, Rasool and her kin thought they were safe. Instead, the mob set upon her and her sisters, aunts and mother, raping and killing them.

On regaining consciousness, terrified and in pain, Rasool began walking once more. She kept going for six hours until she was found by police who took her to the Limkheda police station where her complaint was recorded.

From there, she was transported to the camp where she met her husband who did not know she was alive.

A medical examination was conducted two weeks later. Even though the medical report confirmed rape, police filed a closure report for the case.

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