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Friday, August 07, 2020

Sexual harassment victim’s mother alleges police inaction

After the Nirbhaya rape case in 2012, the Criminal Law Amendment Act (2013) had been passed making sexual harassment a congnisable offence.

Written by Pallavi Singhal | Panchkula | Published: July 15, 2020 9:24:25 am
Sexual harassment victim's mother alleges police inaction SHO Wahida Hameed was unavailable for comment. ASI Sunita, when asked about the matter, denied filing any such complaint.

The mother of a 14-year-old who was purportedly molested has levelled allegations against the women police station of Panchkula saying they not only refused to file an FIR but also scolded the victim and her mother for coming forward.

Narrating the incident that happened on Monday, Devika Devi, the mother of the victim, told The Indian Express, “My daughter had gone to fill up water near our house around 4 pm. The accused boy, aged almost 22, approached her and put her hand on her shoulder. After she refused, he grabbed her by breast. She then shouted and ran away. It was only after my son reached the spot did the boy flee.”

The family then reached the women police station. “We wrote down on paper all we had to say on directions by a police official, who took the complaint to a senior officer. The officer then called us, asked about the incident and scolded me for trying to ruin the boy’s life,” Devika said.

The family was then called into the room by this senior officer one by one to get a document signed. “We do not know what the document was as I am illiterate and my daughter kept crying. But we do not think it was a complaint. I suspect it was a raajinama (compromise letter). We do not even know the name of that officer. Only that she had her own cabin. She also gave us a phone number to call on in case of any more trouble,” she said.

Devika fears that a lack of intervention from police “will lead to the perpetrator to become more threatening”.

SHO Wahida Hameed was unavailable for comment. ASI Sunita, when asked about the matter, denied filing any such complaint. She added, “It must have been SI Shiva. She was on duty that day.”

SI Shiva could not be contacted despite repeated attempts. The phone number provided to the family belongs to woman constable Neha who too remained clueless about the case.

As per a recent press release from the DCP office, IPS Mohit Handa had reportedly instructed all police officers, especially his inspectors, to take action with immediate effect when cases of crime against women are brought to light.

The mother, however, is fighting for an FIR to be filed. “It is our right to file an FIR. But the madam only gave us her number and asked us to call her in case anything else happens after scolding us saying it is not a big deal. A boy can hold a boy like that and a girl can hold a girl like that. But it is outrageous that a stranger held my little child like that. Gareeb log hain to izzat nahi hai kya?” she asked.

After the Nirbhaya rape case in 2012, the Criminal Law Amendment Act (2013) had been passed making sexual harassment a congnisable offence. The police are mandatorily required to register an FIR for cognisable offences.

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