Although investigators are yet to question any of the men named in the five FIRs of gangrape during the Muzaffarnagar riots, TEHELKA traced five people accused in two different cases

October 6, 2013

Photo: PTIPhoto: PTI

Despite national outrage over India’s deadliest communal violence in a decade that killed 52 and rendered about 50000 people homeless, even 13 days after the FIRs of gangrapes during the riots were filed, the accused are roaming free with the police making no effort to arrest them.

Although investigators are yet to question any of the men named in the five FIRs of gangrape, TEHELKA traced five people accused in two different cases. All the five rape cases registered so far have come from Muzaffarnagar’s Fugana village bordering Shamli district. The horror stories began surfacing from 22 September onwards as the police were sifting through the hundreds of complaints of riot victims living in relief camps.

At Fugana, however, unlike a few other Hindu-dominated villages from where hundreds of men have fled and gone into hiding, the rape-accused are present in the village and carrying on with their normal life. Located at a distance of nearly 40 kilometres from Muzaffarnagardistrict headquarters and just about 2 kilometres from the Fugana police station, the village has a population of 26000, of which Muslims number only 2500. Most of them work as labourers in the fields of Hindu Jats and Brahmins. While Jats constitute nearly 70 percent of the Hindu population, the rest are Brahmins, Harijans and other Scheduled Castes.

According to the victims of the riots, on the afternoon of 8 September, hundreds of Jats and some members of other Hindu caste attacked a cluster of Muslim houses in the village’s Dhobi Mohalla a day after Jats were attacked and killed at Jauli village, some 50 kilometres away inMuzaffarnagar district. Besides rape, two deaths were also reported from Fugana village and all the Muslim houses were set on fire.

In her FIR (a copy of which is with TEHELKA) Ayesha (name changed), a woman in her forties, has accused five men from her village – Joginder, Sunil, Ramesh, Ram Kumar and Vijendra – of raping her on the afternoon of 8 September. Her house, along other Muslim dwellings in the Dhobi mohalla of Fugana village, was set on fire by the rioters.The police received her complaint from a relief camp where she had taken shelter along with her husband and other family members. Following this, an FIR was registered at the Fugana police station on 25 September.

TEHELKA first traced Joginder (35) in the village. He turned out to be the son of the village pradhan Tham Singh. He claimed that the rapecharges against him were fabricated: “I had scolded her in public almost two months back for she was after my life to get her a Below Poverty Line (BPL) card. She was persisting on getting the card made then and there and I told her to wait for the right time.” He explains this as the reason for his being ‘framed’. Asked about the sequence of events leading to the victim’s family leaving the village, Joginder, a class 12 dropout who is involved in farming, said he didn’t know the exact reason: “There must have been some miscreants who created disturbance.”

Sunil (46), another accused named in the FIR, said that he had known the woman and her family for years and there was no question of him raping her: “We were neighbors. I saw the family take their belongings to a safer place. However, there was no rape as claimed by her.” Asked if he knew why her family had to leave village, he said, “I do not know. All Muslims began leaving the village after the 7 September incident of the murder of Jats at Jauli village.”

Ramesh (40), a farmer who is also named in the FIR, told TEHELKA that he didn’t even know the woman: “My house is at least 40 houses away from hers. I was in the fields at the time of the alleged rape.”

Another accused named in the gang rape of the woman, Devendra Sharma (48), whose name mistakenly appears as Vijendra in the FIR, said he was in Shamli on 8 Septemer: “I was not in the village. I had taken my son to a doctor in Shamli that day to get him treated for a bullet injury in his leg.” He claimed that his son had been injured by a bullet while returning from the Hindu ‘mahapanchayat’ at Nangla Mandaur on 7 September.


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