With the Rajasthan police unable to protect her from her alleged rapists, a Dalit woman took her own life on September 11 in Barmer district in Rajasthan.
The woman, a 30-year-old mother of two was allegedly gangraped on July 22 by two men, Tan Singh and Lakh Singh. The two men, identified as Rajputs, allegedly raped the woman in her house, which is in a secluded part of the fields of the accused.
After the woman filed a complaint on July 24, the two accused allegedly tried to threaten her with dire consequences and intimidate her into withdrawing the case. She contacted the police for security against the death threats on August 17 and 28. However, the police reportedly failed to provide her with the necessary protection.
Despite this, the woman recorded her statement before the magistrate on August 31. However, when the harassment from the accused did not stop, she committed suicide by jumping into a water tank next her house.
Her distraught family members found her in the evening and rushed her to the hospital, where she was declared brought dead. Carrying her dead body, her family protested before the Block Office in Chohatan from September 12 to 14.
Tarachand Sharma, an advocate with the Human Rights Law Network, told TOI that the woman and her family could have been safer had the police acted swiftly and put the accused behind bars. “Seeing that they could get away despite the crime, the men grew in impunity and threatened the woman’s family,” he said.
Following the woman’s death, Tan Singh was arrested on September 13 and Lakh Singh on the next day.
Cases have been registered under Sections 458 (trespass or house-breaking with preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint), 366 (kidnapping, abducting or inducing a woman to compel her to marriage), and 376 (rape) of the IPC, and under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act. Seven others – Tejpal Singh, Chandan Singh, Leel Singh, Kesar Singh, Leel Singh, Ganga Singh and Khet Singh – have been charged with intimidating the woman and her family to withdraw the rape case.
On September 14, Barmer district SP also sent a letter to the DYSP directing an enquiry into why action had not been taken against the culprits earlier, and has ordered action against the negligent officers.
The case has been taken up by the All India Dalit Adhikaar Manch, which has demanded that:
- The case should be tried and the accused must be convicted without any delays in a fast track court.
- The proper implementation of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act in all such cases of caste-based sexual violence.
- Adequate compensation should be given to the family of the woman.
- Disciplinary action should be taken against the police for not providing protection to the woman or arresting the accused speedily, despite repeated complaints.
- The rest of the accused, who have been named for intimidating the woman and her family should be immediately arrested.