Chief secy asked “to look into the matter personally and ensure the family is not further harassed”
GN Bureau | April 10, 2018
Taking note of media reports about the mysterious death of a rape victim’s father who was in custody at a jail in Unnao, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to the chief secretary and the director general of police, Uttar Pradesh. It has sought a detailed report in the matter, including action taken against the delinquent police officials, who refused to register an FIR.
The incident was reported to have happened a day after the alleged rape victim tried to immolate herself near the chief minister’s residence accusing BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar and his aides of gang rape. The girl’s father was in judicial custody after his arrest for a brawl with the MLA’s supporters last week. The daughter of the deceased has, reportedly, alleged that it is only the delinquent MLA who has got her father killed since she was not willing to withdraw the gang rape complaint against him.
The commission has observed that “the allegations, if true, raise serious issue of violation of human rights of the victim family,” an official press statement noted.
It also expects from “the DGP an explanation for not communicating the custodial death to the commission within 24 hours”. All the reports, including health screening report of the deceased at the time of his admission in the jail and medical treatment provided by the jail authorities, are to be sent. They have been given four weeks to respond.
The commission has also directed the UP chief secretary “to look into the matter personally and ensure that the aggrieved family is not subjected to further harassment and humiliation by the opponents who appear to be resourceful persons of the locality”. He is also directed to monitor and expedite the magisterial inquiry which is underway.
According to reports in newspapers today, some miscreants forcefully entered into the house of the rape victim's father and thrashed him brutally in front of his family members April 3. The family approached the Makhi police station to lodge an FIR against the younger brother of the BJP MLA and his aides. It was mentioned in their complaint that the brother of the MLA led the group and asked his accomplices to attack the family. The FIR has been reportedly lodged but it, allegedly, does not mention the name of the brother of the BJP MLA. On the other hand, the police booked the rape victim's father u/s 323, 504, 506 IPC and also added sections of the Arms Act against him. He was arrested and remanded to judicial custody for 14 days. The police, as mentioned in the news reports, argued that the accused was a listed criminal. After medical examination, Devender was sent to prison at 7.30 pm on April 4. According to the media reports, on April 8, in the evening, Devender complained of stomach ache and the next day he died in the hospital at around 3.30 am.
The daughter of the deceased, who has leveled allegation of rape against the MLA and his associates, has, reportedly stated that since Unnao police had refused to act against the MLA, his brother and accomplices, they were forced to move the court to get an FIR registered. She has also alleged that the MLA had threatened to get the entire family killed. As per news reports, she had met the chief minister on August 17, to raise her grievance and she was assured help.
According to media reports, the doctors who examined the deceased after he spent two days in police custody noted 19 injury marks. Reports also state that he was taken to hospital only when his condition deteriorated.
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This piece is based on a previous article by the authors published in Geoforum [Elsevier] in May 2019: available online: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/ S0016718519300764?via%3Dihub
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