His minor daughter was abducted and gang raped for three days. He struggled to get the FIR lodged. Meanwhile, there was immense pressure on him to marry his daughter off to one of the offenders. On top of it, the girl’s family isn’t even aware that they are supposed to get a compensation
His minor daughter was abducted and gang-raped for three days. Then he struggled to get the FIR (First Information Report) lodged. Meanwhile, he also had to deal with innumerable hearings of the panchayat and the pressure to marry off the daughter to one of the offenders — for a father it was cataclysmic suffering that he had to endure.
“Someone actually said to me that no one would marry my daughter as she was gang-raped. The person actually suggested that I should marry her off to one of the offenders,” said the girl’s father.
“I am just a poor labourer ignorant of the worldly ways. I agreed for my daughter’s wedding as people suggested me to. I only wanted them (the accused’s family) to get the marriage registered, which they were not willing to,” he added.
The minor girl, living in a small village in Uttar Pradesh’s Fatehpur district, was abducted on January 5, 2018, when she had stepped out to relieve herself. A few men from the village took her away forcibly and gang-raped her for three days. On the evening of the third day, she was abandoned on the village outskirts by the offenders.
Despite being deeply affected, the girl’s father agreed to marry his daughter off. For 15 days after the incident, the village panchayats deliberated the case after which the accused party refused to do a registered marriage. Totally broken, the girl’s father has now sought a legal remedy to provide justice to his daughter.
Recalling the course of events of that day, the girl’s father said: “When my daughter didn’t return after a while, I went out looking for her. Unable to find any trace of her by the next morning, we went to the local police chowki to report her missing. There, we were told to go to the police station and so when we approached it, the inspector told me that my daughter would return by next evening.”
Sitting beneath a thatched roof, the father continued to curse the police for its apathy. “When she didn’t return by next day, I revisited the station where the irritable inspector dismissed me saying that she’d return by next evening. I had no alternative than to quietly return home and wait for her to come back.”
On the condition of anonymity, one of the girl’s neighbours informed: “Those people (the accused) have been doing this with others too but since no one has spoken up against them, they continue to do so. When these people (the girl’s family) went to the police station, they weren’t taken seriously as they were poor. In order to save themselves, those people had offered the girl’s family a false marriage proposal.”
He added: “The accused had thought of abandoning the girl in one or two months after marrying her so that the girl’s family may not be able to file a case. However, a few people had suggested the father of the girl to have a registered marriage due to which they backed off.”
Talking about the matter, Renu Mishra, a lawyer associated with AALI, an institution providing free legal aid to women, said: “If the police resist or delay the FIR in cases of sexual violence, an FIR against the police should be filed under IPC Section 166 A (c). Secondly, after Nirbhaya’s case, a provision has been made under Section 21B wherein FIR can be filed against the police for negligence in POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) related cases. Due to ignorance, no one files an FIR against the police due to which action is not initiated against it.”
When Gaon Connection tried to speak with the minor, she began crying. It was only after much persuasion, she paused and said: “People ask my parents to marry me off as I have brought shame upon my family. They tell my parents to get rid of me. If I wear nice clothes, people ask how I can dress up gaily after all that has happened to me. My schoolmates ask me in jest what all happened to me on that day.”
These taunts by the society bothered the girl and forced her to lock herself up in her house. She was constantly blamed even though she was the innocent victim. Despite adversities, her family continued her education and she passed her tenth with first division.
She said: “Many a time, while going to school, I was confronted by his (accused’s) father who demanded that I compromise with them or else they’d kill my father and brother. Earlier, these threats used to affect me, but my father promised that he’d only rest when I am given justice.”
The girl’s father had to abandon his work and make endless visits to the police station, court and other places. Talking about the threats, he said: “I felt cheated after the whole incident, I was desolate and cried at my poverty and lack of education. I felt lonely in the sea of people with none bothering to support me in my quest for justice to my daughter.” Now, he constantly curses his poverty, social censure and apathetic attitude of the police.
The minor is a single sister to two brothers. Her elder brother has to live away since the incident due to constant threats of death. Two accused have been arrested and jailed following a one-and-half-year-long court battle while one is absconding.
Her mother said: “It was very difficult for us to send them to jail. Besides the social abandonment, we also suffer a debt of about Rs 1.5 lakh. Now I pray that they remain behind bars, forever. Our debt we will cover up eventually by working hard.”
AALI’s Mishra said: “There is provision of life imprisonment to the death penalty for such offence. Besides, Rs 7 lakh is provided to the survivor as compensation from Rani Laxmibai Mahila Samman Prakosth.” However, the girl’s family is ignorant of such compensatory amount.
Her mother said: “It would be good if we get the compensation. Our debt would be taken care of and we’d be able to educate our child further. However, even more important is that the accused get the severest punishment. We have suffered long due to people’s taunts and are unable to answer back.”
While no one can compensate for the suffering that the girl and her family had to endure after the incident, the compensation amount can be helpful in further education and rehabilitation of the daughter.
Talking about the compensation, Rakesh Singh, the probation officer at Fatehpur, said: “The case is registered on the portal by the police, and thereafter the chief medical officer puts up his report following which we meet in a district-level committee to approve the compensation to the survivor disbursed through the directorate.” When the case was brought up with him, he said, “Only the police can get it registered on the portal.”
Who will disburse the compensation at the district level and how and when will they be offered it — the girl’s family has no information about this.