The Telegraph
Tuesday , November 1 , 2011
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Shunned, raped Mizo girl quits Delhi
- Taunted by friends, BPO worker goes home

New Delhi, Oct. 31: A Mizo woman who was gang-raped in Delhi last November was shunned by friends and taunted on the streets, prompting her to quit her BPO job and return to Mizoram a couple of months ago.

Sources who had counselled the 30-year-old said her colleagues avoided her and even her friends, some from the Northeast themselves and thus expected to be a source of emotional support, had stopped meeting her.

“It became very difficult for her to live in Delhi. She was feeling ostracised by neighbours and friends,” the president of the Delhi Mizo Welfare Association, B. Lalzarliana, told The Telegraph.

Madhu Chandra, spokesperson for the North East Support Centre and Helpline, said he was “shocked” at the way the victim was ostracised. “Instead of helping such victims with their rehabilitation, our society makes their lives more miserable,” he said.

The victim’s plight may have been partly aggravated by the way women from the Northeast are perceived and treated by many in Delhi, including criminals and the police.

Statistics compiled by Chandra’s NGO suggest that nearly half the women harassed sexually in the capital are from the Northeast.

“Northeast women are always targeted by criminals but the police do not act on their complaints, emboldening the criminals. In 40 instances in the past two years, the police refused to register a case when the shattered victims approached them,” Chandra said.

In another 20 cases, the accused are roaming free, Chandra said. He cited how two men recently molested a Manipuri girl inside her home and Vasant Vihar police refused to register a case when her family approached them.

Ayangla Jamir, who is from Nagaland and works with a BPO, said the capital had become a frightening place to live in.

“Girls and working women from the Northeast feel very vulnerable. Criminals are on the prowl but the government is least bothered. Even society, which should come to the aid of rape victims, makes their life more miserable,” she said.

The Mizo gang-rape victim’s absence from Delhi, Lalzarliana said, could work in favour of her four alleged attackers whom the police eventually arrested after drawing a lot of flak. The trial is to begin soon. “She has to be present at the hearings. If she doesn’t come, it will have an impact on the outcome of the case,” Lalzarliana said.

The victim, who worked with a Gurgaon BPO, had arrived in Delhi five years ago and had been living with her sister in a rented flat in Motibagh, south Delhi. On November 23 night last year, she was abducted at gunpoint after the office car had dropped her near her home.

Four men dragged her into their mini-truck and took turns raping her before throwing her out two hours later.

Chandra said the girl’s was not an isolated case. Another Mizo girl, a 20-year-old Delhi University student, had been abducted from near the same spot and gang-raped in a moving vehicle in 2005.

“She too returned to Mizoram. It took her 3-4 years to come out of the trauma. She got married this year,” Lalzarliana said.

Nearly 85,000 people from the Northeast live in the National Capital Region. Some 4,000 northeastern boys and girls enrol in Delhi University colleges every year and a large number works in BPOs.

People from the community had met chief minister Sheila Dikshit last year, extracting a promise to set up a hostel for working women from the Northeast, Chandra said. Such a hostel for 500 women has come up in Jasola, southeast Delhi, but only a handful have moved in because it’s located in a remote area and has poor security, he added.

Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said he was not aware of any instance of the police refusing to register a molestation complaint.

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