S Nambu Rajan, state secretary, Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently-Abled and Caregivers, explains how the state police bungled the brutal gangrape of a differently-abled teenager and the family’s fight for justice.
A 16-year-old speech and hearing impaired girl was assaulted and raped by four men in Krishnagiri district in Tamil Nadu on December 25, 2014.
The incident occurred in a forest area where there are several hamlets under the Dhoddamanji panchayat.
The victim’s family own an acre of farmland where they grow millet. The millet had been harvested and was lying in the field. Her father was guarding it. On the evening of December 25, at around 6 pm, the victim had taken dinner for her father to the field.
The victim would usually return home in half an hour. When she did not return after an hour, her mother raised an alarm. Her husband told her their daughter had set out for home after serving her father dinner and went looking for her.
He found his daughter in the bushes. She was unconscious. There were injuries on her head and private parts. He thought a wild animal had attacked her and carried her home.
She woke up an hour later and said that four men had assaulted and raped her.
Since it was night there was no transport available in the village. The next morning, at 4 am, the father carried his daughter to the nearest bus stop which is 14 km away. They boarded a bus for the Denkanikotta government hospital.
The duty doctor at the Denkanikotta government hospital was Dr Renganathan. The father explained what had happened. The doctor treated her injuries. No test for sexual assault was done nor was she sent to the bigger government hospital at Hosur.
The girl remained in the hospital till December 31 as an in-patient.
Our organisation, the Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently-Abled and Caregivers, came to know of the incident on December 31. We went to the hospital and met the girl. Our lady members examined her and found injuries on her private parts. Her breasts were also swollen.
The father told us that on Decemeber 26 he had gone to the Anjetti police station under whose limit his village falls to file a complaint. They had told him to go to the All Woman Police station in Denkanikotta.
He went there. He was told that the inspector was not there. She had gone to Kerala for another case involving child trafficking. The father returned to the hospital.
On December 31 we went to the women’s police station and threatened to hold a public agitation from January 2. Only after that did the police take action..
The police came to the hospital and spoke to the girl. They took her back to the women’s police station along with the father at 8 pm. At 10 pm they took the girl and the father to the Hosur government hospital.
At 2 am they brought them back to the police station. They told the father that the girl would remain in their custody and he should come the next morning. As he left, the father says he heard the girl crying.
She was treated cruelly in the name of investigation, The police tried to convince her that nothing had happened.
When the father returned the next morning he was told that the police had taken her to the Hosur hospital for a check-up.
At the hospital they did the two finger test, which has been banned by the Supreme Court in 2013. The Hosur government hospital report said her hymen was intact. Therefore, nothing had happened. The police also said that nothing had happened.
A copy of the medical report is with Rediff.com which says the hymen is intact.
But the police did file an FIR (First Information Report) against four accused and arrested them. The FIR was filed under Section 324 which is assault and not rape. The names of the arrested are Mutthappa, Mathappa, Ruthappa and Indiralinga.
The last mentioned is an elected member of the local panchyat.
We met the superintendent of police of the district, but the section in the FIR was not changed. We then took the girl and the father to Chennai and met Additional Director General of Police Radhakrishnan and the state home secretary.
They repeated the district police’s version to us.
Meanwhile, a village kangaroo court excommunicated the girl’s family from the village. People were told not to talk to them or interact with them in any manner.
We approached the Chennai high court and the court ordered a medical examination of the girl on January 30 at the Dharmapuri district hospital.
On February 13, the hospital gave its report to the high court. The report said the hymen was not intact.
A copy of this medical report is with Rediff.com. It says the hymen is not intact. It also says that this could be because of masturbation. It points out that there is no evidence of recent sexual activity. This test was conducted six weeks after the incident.
The inspector at the women’s police station met the girl again for re-investigation. She asked the girl, ‘Why the rupture could not have happened owing to masturbation?’
We are charging the police and doctors for dereliction of duty. The accused are still in jail, but they might come out on bail. They might intimidate the victim and her family.