Following a news in the Hindu by about the rape of a girl with intellectual disability, in Mongolpuri, Delhi, a 7 member team from the Delhi Viklang Adhikar Manch, an affiliate of the NPRD followed up on the case. Based on the findings of the team we have sent the following letter to the Delhi Chief Minister on July 31, 2015.
It is with great pain and anguish that we are writing this letter to you. It concerns the rape of a 17 year old girl with intellectual disabilities a resident, Mongolpuri, Delhi.
After learning of the incident from a report which appeared in The Hindu of July 24, 2015 a team from the Delhi Viklang Adhikar Manch (an affiliate of the National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled) met the family of the victim, the school where she was studying, the doctors at the hospital where she is undergoing treatment and the SHO, Mongolpuri Police Station.
What we have gathered from these interactions is as follows:
The father of the victim has no permanent employment and does odd jobs for a living. The mother looks after the home, while one son, aged 15, had to leave school and work to support the family.
The girl and her younger brother (also intellectually disabled) are enrolled at the Vision Viklang Evam Punarvas Kendra, managed by the Vision Institute of Advanced Studies, located at 218, Rajapur village, Behind Prem Kutir Apartments, Sector 9, Rohini, Delhi 110085. The Kendra has 70 students on its rolls, with an average attendance of 40-45 students. The Kendra is registered under the PwD Act 1995.
A van from the Kendra used to pick up the siblings from their residence and drop them back. A special teacher, Meenu Bhatia, who is also head of the Kendra, used to come in the vehicle which used to pick up and drop the children back home. According to the girl’s mother, there were a few occasions on which the van reached back late, without the special teacher Meenu accompanying the children. When questioned by the mother, the driver used to reply that there was some function at the school which went past school hours and hence the delay.
The school authorities, Ms. Meenu Bhatia (who heads the school) and the administrator Mr. Amit Gupta told us that on occasions when there were any functions/programmes in the school, the parents were given advance information. We were also told that the driver was sacked on June 2, 2015 after he was found to have stolen the mobile phone of a teacher.
The school has now outsourced the job of transporting the children to a private agency. Sadly, even after this tragic incident, police verification of the drivers thus engaged has not been undertaken by the school.
According to the mother, apart from the school, her disabled daughter did not go anywhere else and besides the parents and children, no else lived in their house.
Since the girl was missing her periods for some time the mother got worried and consulted a doctor on June 29, 2015. A urine test was done on the advice of the doctor, which established that the girl was pregnant by six months. An FIR was filed at the Mongulpuri Police station under Sec. 376 of the IPC and Sec 6 of the Pocso. The girl is currently receiving treatment at the Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital, Mongolpuri, where she was admitted on June 30, 2015.
The girl in her statement recorded before the magistrate had identified the driver as being the culprit. When we enquired whether a special educator (mandated by law in such cases) accompanied the I/O and magistrate while the statement was being recorded, the reply from the mother was in the negative.
After the arrest of the driver on July 13, the wife of the driver and another male relative of hers had visited the hospital on a couple of occasions and sought to exert pressure on the victim’s mother to withdraw the FIR. The mother also claims that the school authorities had asked her to withdraw the FIR.
The victim girl has now told her mother and our team during our over hour-long interaction at the counselling room at the hospital that the male relative of the driver, who accompanied the driver’s wife to the hospital, was also involved. This fact is not contained in the statement made before the magistrate, as it emerged after the statement was recorded.
The girl is into the 29th week of her pregnancy and it is not advisable both legally and medically to go for a termination.
In the light of the above, we put forward the following for your consideration:
1. Since the girl has pointed to the involvement of the person accompanying the wife of the driver, this should be added to her statement and this person arrested and interrogated. The police have already requested the hospital for DNA samples.
2. A compensation of at least Rs. 5 lakhs should be awarded under the Delhi Victims Compensation Scheme. This amount may be granted immediately.
3. All medical expenses towards the treatment of the girl should be borne by the state.
4. Given the fact that the victim, who is intellectually disabled will become a mother, who would not be capable independently to take care of the child, support systems should be put in place, which would include rehabilitation and counselling.
5. An enquiry should be conducted to see whether there have been any lapses from the school’s side and appropriate action initiated.
6. Mechanisms should be put in place to monitor such schools, institutions and homes where disabled children/adults study or are lodged to prevent recurrence of such assaults. The need for such mechanisms has been underlined in the Verma Committee’s recommendations, the report by the Human Rights Watch, 2014 etc.
7. Specific issues concerning girls and women with disabilities as also of the new provisions in the law should be included in the sensitization programmes of the police force.
We hope you will initiate immediate action on the above, as also take any additional measures that you may deem necessary.
contact – [email protected]