A 25-YEAR-OLD woman from a Muzaffarnagar village in western Uttar Pradesh, whose alleged gangrape in 2013 was recorded on video and circulated on WhatsApp last week, tried to commit suicide four times in the last seven days, her family members told The Indian Express.
According to her father and younger brother, the suicide attempts happened after she lodged an FIR on January 16, soon after the video was circulated, naming two accused and claiming that she was being blackmailed, and that her marriage had ended as a result. Later, the woman named four others involved in the case.
Two days ago, the family shifted her to a relative’s house in Muzaffarnagar town, said the brother.
“Ever since she told us and the police about the rape and blackmail, which had been going on for around three years, the entire family has been distraught. We sent her to a relative’s house two days ago where someone is by her side all the time. After the video was circulated, she has been extremely disturbed. She tried to take her life four times. Once she ran to the terrace and was about to jump from the building. We managed to save her,” said her brother.
Pointing to a room next to the verandah of her house, the brother said, “A few days ago, she locked herself in the room. We broke open the door and found her trying to hang herself. There was a noose around her neck and she was trying to reach for the ceiling. Two more times, she had locked herself in this room and we had to break open the door. We removed all sharp objects that were in the room.”
He father, a 50-year-old farmer, said, “Every time I speak to her, she tells me that she does not want to live. Why did she not tell us what she was undergoing all these years? Can there be a greater failure for a parent? If she could not have told me, she could have told her mother or her sister. The matter could have been resolved, police complaint filed and action taken right then. She would not have to suffer so much.”
A postgraduate from a university in Khatauli, the rape survivor was married nearly two years ago. According to her family, when her husband and his family came to know that she was getting incessant calls from the accused, they allegedly threatened to kill her.
“She fled from her husband’s house and came here about a year ago. When she told us that they had threatened to kill her, we refused to let her go back. She has been separated from her husband ever since and divorce proceedings are underway in a local court,” her father said.
“We have not stepped out of the house since this video and photos were circulated. I do not have the strength to face anyone. We have run out of tea and other essentials but I could not muster the courage to step out. It is only when my sister from Delhi reached here that we have started eating. My nephew goes out to buy something. This is harvesting season and our fields have been neglected,” he said.
On Tuesday morning, the village bore a deserted look with three shops dealing with DVDs, computers and other electronics sealed amid heavy police deployment. The houses of the six accused were locked with neighbours claiming that their families had fled.
On the basis of the FIR, two men — Irshad and Nazar Mohammad — were arrested by the police on Monday. “The complainant gave four more names and alleged that they were involved too. We are gathering evidence against them and the search is underway. A case under relevant sections of rape and blackmail — 376, 506 among others — have been invoked. Three shops in the village have been sealed, and mobile phones and CDs seized. We are conducting a search to ensure that these images and video do not get circulated further. The role of these shops are also being probed. We have managed to identify one accused in the video and he has been arrested,” said K B Singh, SSP Muzaffarnagar.
This is the second such incident reported from Muzaffarnagar district in the last one week. Five days ago, a 40-year-old ASHA worker (Accredited Social Health Activist) had committed suicide after she was raped and a video of the incident circulated on WhatsApp.