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COMPLAINT OF-  rape of a poor woman by Sub Inspector Mithun Banerjee, officer-in charge,

in his official quarter  –an  Association for Protedtion of Democratic Rights (APDR)  fact finding report.

            On 23 April, 2012, at about 8-30 PM, APDR came to learn that a young woman was raped by SI Mithun Banerjee, Officer-in Charge, Bhadreswar PS. We were informed that the young couple is seeking justice, but are too afraid to move alone and lodge a complaint. We asked them, whether they can go to the nearest Government Hospital and get medically examined first. They were even reluctant fearing that the authorities will refuse. Finally they agreed to come the nearest , the Chandernagore Sub-Divisional Hospital. We assured them that we will intervene if the Hospital authorities refuse.

            They reached the Hospital by 8-45 PM, and requested for medical check up against their complaint of . As they feared, the Emergency Medical Officer on duty refused to entertain them and get the woman medically examined.. In about 15 minutes an APDR team also reached the Hospital and tried to reason with the MO for arranging medical check up. Finally after an official request on behalf of APDR, an outdoor ticket was prepared and after getting instruction from the Superintendent of the Hospital, necessary papers were being readied for her admission.

            While all these were taking place, an well-built person was frequently coming in and going out of the emergency room and making calls with his cell phone. The Hospital staff revealed that he was a police personnel in plain dress.

            In the meantime APDR also contacted the Chairperson, West Bengal Women’s Commission (WBWC) and also met the Superintendent of the Hospital in his quarters. The Chairperson, also called the Superintendent of Police, Hooghly. While the APDR team was discussing the matter with the  Superintendent of the Hospital, he received a phone call and informed us that a police team is coming to the Hospital and if they make a formal requisition, necessary medical examination to ascertain the truth of allegation of rape will be conducted.

            Within a few minutes, a large contingent of police appeared, first led by the SDPO, Chandernagore, followed by IPS Amitabha Verma, ASP. They interrogated the victim woman and    her husband for about an hour and in another hour the woman’s handwritten complaint was received by the Officer-in Charge, Chandernagore PS, in which the victim categorically stated that she was raped by the Officer-in Charge, Bhadreswar PS in a room of the OC’s quarter..

The Incident: according to the victim and her husband

1. The husband was arrested in a dacoity case and after 45 days in custody was released on 21/04/12. On the very night, two policemen from Bhadreswar P.S. chanced on him and asked him to come to the P.S. Accordingly the husband visited Bhadreswar P.S. on 22/4/12. As asked by O.C., Bhadreswar P.S. the husband summoned his wife to the P.S. over phone. At that time the O.C. took the mobile no. of the victim and her husband.

2. On 23/04/12, at about 3-30 PM, the O.C. asked the victim to visit the P.S. immediately in connection with her husband’s case.

3. She proceeded to the P.S. in an Auto (According to media reports a police vehicle was sent to the victim’s house to fetch her to the P.S.)

4. When the victim reached the P.S. the O.C. took her to his quarter. There was nobody in the quarter at that time. The O.C. took the victim to a room of the quarter and closed the windows. He threatened that if she did not obey her husband would be in grave danger. After that he pounced on her. According to the victim she tried to resist but did not shout out of fear that she might be killed. She was raped forcibly.

5. She reported the whole episode to her husband and the husband tried to contact some media from the numbers scrolled below the channel programmes.

6. After that he also contacted APDR.

Medical Examination and aftermath:

1. After receiving the formal complaint from the victim, the O.C., Chandernagore P.S. made a formal requisition for medical examination on her for alleged rape. The examination was done at Chandernagore Sub Divisional Hospital. at around 12 P.M. Interestingly, the Emergency Medical Officer noted the allegation of rape “as per statements of the victim’s husband’, but the victim herself narrated her plight and categorically stated in presence of the APDR team that she had been raped by the O.C. Bhadreswar P.S The discrepancy was pointed to the Emergency Medical Officer immediately thereafter. He admitted his mistake. The matter was also communicated to the superintendents of the Hospital at 11.30 P. M.

2. On 24/04/12 morning the victim was discharged from the Chandernagore Hospital. The husband along with her 5-6 years old son was waiting for whole night at the hospital, hungry and unfed. When the family was emerging from the hospital, they were forcibly placed in a police vehicle.

3. They were taken to Imambara Sadar Hospital. Sri Tanmoy Roy Chowdhury. IPS, SP Hooghly, Basab  Talukdar, Special IG and other officials were present at the Imambara Sadar Hospital. There was another round of grilling of the victim and her husband at the hospital. The victim was also subjected to a fresh medical examination.

4. Though the victim made a formal complaint of rape against the O.C., Bhadreswar, P.S. , no action was taken against the O.C. was taken till then. Only towards the afternoon the media reported the O.C. is ‘closed’.

5. After medical examination, the whole family was again put on a police vehicle at about 2 P.M. and was taken to the District Women P.S. situated  at the Chinsurah PS premises. At 3 P.M. they were again taken to the Imambarah Sadar Hospital and after about half an hour taken back to the District Women P. S.

6. At 5 P.M. we learnt that the whole family was then at Bhadreswar P.S.

7. At about 9 P.M., after the whole day’s ordeal without sleep or rest accompanied by continuous grilling by a top brass of the police hierarchy, they probably left the PS. But they could not be found in their home and remained incommunicado for the next 36 hours.

8. According to media reports, on 25.04.2012 they were taken to the CID Headquarters at Bhawani Bhawan, the accused O.C. was also asked to report there. Another round of grilling followed.

9. Towards the afternoon of 25.04.2012, the media quoting police sources reported that the accuse O.C. has been suspended. About three hours later, the media, again quoting police sources, further reported that the victim ‘retracted’ her allegation against the O.C.

OUR OBSERVATIONS :

1. The initial reluctance of both the hospital and police administration to entertain and act on the complaint of rape and subsequent warlike activities­–both were aimed at suppressing the allegation and fact of the rape and deprive the woman of justice.

2. The couple is in their twenties and the husband returned home after 45 days in custody barely 40 hours prior to the incident of rape. In this situation vaginal rupture during rape is quite unlikely. The only substantive medical evidence will be cross matching of the vaginal swab of the victim with the accused’s semen. It is not known, whether such medical examination was conducted. So far as we know the victim’s clothing at the time of rape were not seized and not examined forensically for evidences of rape which is a must in such cases.

3. Like other such incidents of gross violation, the police fed the media with misinformation at regular intervals like ‘no evidence of rape in medical examination’, ‘the woman has two marriages and is of bad character’, ‘ the woman admits she is mentally disbalanced’ so on and so forth.

4. It is not known whether the following bits of vital investigation were conducted by the police :

(a) Why the accused Bhadreswar PS O.C. was using an unregistered SIM for communicating with the woman, if such contacts were necessary as part of his official duty.

(b) The examination of Bhadreswar PS personnel to verify the victim’s presence in the PS at the time of alleged crime.

(c) Cross checking the description of the room of alleged crime at OC’s quarter as given by the victim and as it actually is.

(d) Cross matching of vaginal swab of the victim with the accused’s semen and forensic examination of victim’s clothes at the time of alleged rape as mentioned before are absolutely necessary to rule out the allegation of rape.

4. The police tried to break the moral of the victim and subjected her to tremendous mental and physical stress from 4 pm, 23 April to 25 April afternoon– almost for 48 hours at a stretch. The resulting trauma made her ill–she felt acute pain in the head  and felt mentally agonized to such an extent that she could not remember what she said earlier to the police. The victim is a patient of Thyroid disorder. Two days without necessary essential medication invariably disturbs the physical and mental equilibrium of the patient. This was the opportunity the police was looking for and without wasting a moment she was taken to a magistrate to record an statement extracted in the face of severe trauma.

5. Media reports suggest that the  victim made a statement u/s  164 of CrPC retracting the allegation of rape, which was also repeated by the Hon’ble CM, during her press meet on 27/0/4/12  The sub section 6 of section 164 states that  The Magistrate recording a confession or statement under this section shall forward it to the Magistrate by whom the case is to be inquired into or tried.

The following questions need to be answered.

(a)   How the police/media knew the contents of her sec 164 statement, when the law specifically meant it for the judicial magistrate.

(b)   Whether the victim was provided with legal advice/opinion on  the concequences before she was forced to make a statement u/s 164 CrPC.

(c)    Even if the victim retracts her complaint can the accused absolved  before getting the forensic test reports and till then shall the accused not to be dealt with as per law.

(d)   Why the victim was taken to a magistrate to record a statement before the completion of the investigation based on her already registered complaint. Can this be explained without questioning the motive- was police anxious to give justice to the victim or they were hell-bent in rescuing their collegue from the long hand of law?

6. The whole chain of events does not suggest that the victim’s allegation was untrue. It rather points out how far and further the police can traumatise a victim of rape to get her retract her allegation. The treatment meted out to the victim is in blatant disregard of all human right standards. The traumatisation was aimed towards the whole family including the victim’s 5/6 year child, to subjugate the victim.

OUR DEMANDS TO THE POLICE and THE STATE AUTHRITIES :

1. The allegation should be investigated by an agency which is not under the influence of the state police. The state Women’s Commission may initiate such a process. The statement u/s 164 Cr.P.C. obtained under duress from a traumatised victim must be kept in abeyance.

3. The allegation is of a non bailable offence and the accused must be dealt with as per provisions of the law.

 

WE APPEAL TO  statutory HumanRights Bodies including Women’s Commission and Human Rights Commissions and the Judiciary to step in to help the victim get justice.

 

WE ALSO APPEAL TO  different rights organisations, women’s organisations and all democratic individuas and organisations to voice their dissent to this sinister design to deprive a rape victim of justice

Fact finding Team :

Bapi Dasgupta, Amit Gosh, Gautam Munshi, Saibal Das

Amitadyuti Kumar, Sumanta Ghosh, Kamal Datta,                                                      (Amitadyuti Kumar)

Debashish Gupta                                                                                                President, APDR, Hooghly Dist Committee

On behalf of the fact finding Team

28 April 2012

Association for Protedtion of Democratic Rights (APDR)

HOOGHLY DISTRICT COMMITTEE

Senpara P.O.Burashibtala, Chinsurah, Dist. Hooghly, W.B., PIN 712105

Phone 033/26801439 (M)       9433346109

[email protected]

Amitadyuti Kumar,

Vice President, APDR

18 Madan Boral Lane, 700012

Phone 033 22376459

President, Hooghly District APDR

Senpara, PO BUrashibtal, Chinsurah

Dist Hooghly, West Bengal  PIN 712105

Ph 03326891439   (M)  9433346109

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Comment (1)

  1. Don’t go to police.
    Pour petrol & burn him alive.
    (goo DOT gl/NFK0A)

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