The Bhopal student who was gangraped on October 31 has said it is her attackers who “should feel guilty for what they did to me. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life hearing comments like ‘bechari rape victim’.”
On the evening of October 31, the girl was gangraped near Habibganj railway station. After she and her family spoke out on the indifference of the police who quibbled over jurisdiction, station house officers of three police stations — M P Nagar, Habibgang and GRP, Habibganj — as well as two sub-inspectors were suspended.
The girl rubbished questions that are generally raised about the clothes of a woman after a crime against her is reported. “I was wearing a full-sleeve shirt and jeans, not a short dress. And yet it happened. Even sari-clad women are raped in villages,” she said. The FIR says she was raped six times. One of the four attackers tried to strangle her but stopped after seeing her lie motionless.
The 18-year-old is studying science after her Class XII and has been preparing for civil service examinations, aspiring to become a police officer. “Why should I feel like a victim?” she asked.
Every day, she commuted from a town 70 km away from Bhopal by train for her coaching classes. The day she was attacked, she was on her way home after her classes got over.
She said the route she took was the shortest, and she was not the only one to have used it. “I took the shortest route that most students who commute daily by trains take…. I was not the first person to take the route,” she said.
She said her attackers dragged her down a slope and took her to the other side of the rail tracks through a ditch. She was raped twice each by two accused who first overpowered her and twice by two accomplices who joined later.
“They asked me where I was headed and when I named the town they said no train was due to leave in that direction till the morning. At one point they discussed if they should hold me till 3.30 am (for five-and-a-half hours more). The main accused tried to strangle me, then probably thought I was motionless and left,’’ she said.
The girl and her parents, both of who are police personnel, criticised the police for their reluctance to registering a complaint. On November 1, the family pleaded for 11 hours with officers at three police stations to register the case. At one point, they were told it was all a “filmy” story.
“My parents and I were caught in a jurisdiction wrangle that lasted nearly 11 hours,’’ the girl said.
Her father is with the Railway Protection Force and her mother with the state police. In one police station, the victim and her mother were accused of cooking up a story, the girl said, adding that they were told “at best it is a case of loot”.
“At one point, I told them (the police) ‘if you don’t want to register an offence, say so and let us go’,’’ said the mother. She said it was the worst experience in her police career.
On November 1, the girl’s father caught Golu Bihari, one of the four accused, playing cards at Mansarovar Complex close to the crime scene. After spending nearly two hours at the scene of crime, an official of M P Nagar police station told them the spot was probably under the jurisdiction of Habibganj police.
The father said his daughter had told him that when she had pleaded with her attackers to get her some clothes, they had got the same in 10-15 minutes. He had a hunch that one of them perhaps lived close to the spot. He decided to explore the area. It was then that they saw Golu.
“My father caught him by the T-shirt after I identified him. He (Golu) feigned ignorance but was stunned when I removed my dupatta covering my face. He had probably thought I was dead,” the girl said.
An official from Habibganj police station accompanied the family along with the accused to the spot but said the case would have to be registered at the Government Railway Police station, Habibganj. At Habibganj GRP, the family was told their account was all “a filmy story”.
The Habibganj police station officer agreed to register an FIR if the GRP was not ready to. The case was eventually registered by GRP, Habibganj, in the evening.
“They don’t deserve the uniform,” the victim said about the police officials.