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Thursday, June 24, 2021

FIR names six in ‘gangrape’ of 26-year-old at Tikri protest site

According to police, the woman hailed from West Bengal and had come to the border in April with six people from the Kisan Social Army, including two women, whom she had met during a public meeting in Bengal.

Written by Sakshi Dayal | Gurgaon |
Updated: May 11, 2021 5:10:23 am
Tikri, Punjab, Farmers protests, Delhi borders from Punjab, coronavirus cases in Punjab, Punjab covid-19 cases, farmers protest in punjab, Punjab news, india news, indian expressFarmers going to Tikri border under the 'Operation Shakti' call of Samyukta Kisan Morcha, Thursday. (Express Photo)

THE HARYANA police have registered an FIR against six people for the alleged gangrape of a 26-year-old woman who was participating in the farmers’ protest at Tikri border, and who died of Covid on April 30.

According to police, the woman hailed from West Bengal and had come to the border in April with six people from the Kisan Social Army, including two women, whom she had met during a public meeting in Bengal. Days after arriving at the border, she began to exhibit Covid symptoms and as her condition worsened, was admitted to hospital on April 26, police said.

Her father said at a press conference on Monday evening that she came to know of the alleged rape after he reached Jhajjar on April 29 and met her at the hospital.

“She told me she had been harassed and raped after she left for Tikri. In the train, one of the accused grabbed her hand and forcefully kissed her. After she came to Tikri, she was staying in the tent of the Kisan Social Army, where two of the men who had accompanied her raped her. She told me that they had been blackmailing her,” he said.

Police have identified the two men as Anil Malik and Anup Singh. “We have registered an FIR under various IPC sections, including section 376-D (gangrape), and are conducting investigations. A Special Investigation Team, headed by DCP (Bahadurgarh) and including myself, has been formed to conduct the probe,” said Vijay Kumar, SHO, Bahadurgarh City police station.

The woman’s father said: “I had given a complaint against Malik and Singh, but police have named four other people as well. Two of them are women who have been helping me since I came here. I want the accused to be punished but the innocent should not have to suffer.”

The SHO, however, said: “The complainant has mentioned in his complaint that his daughter left from Bengal with six people, so we have named them all and will investigate whether this was a conspiracy. If anyone is innocent, that will emerge in the probe.”

Farmer leaders associated with the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) said they were not aware of the allegations until after her death.

Swaraj India head Yogendra Yadav, who has been associated with the farmers’ protest, said at a press conference on Monday: “My first contact with the family was on April 24, when the victim’s father alerted me about her medical condition. Since she was from Bengal, I asked my wife to speak to her in Bangla. She indicated she was being troubled, but it was not clear what the situation was. However, she had a medical condition so it was decided to take her to the hospital the next day.”

Yadav said that the next day, he was alerted by the woman’s father that “she is being taken somewhere”. On calling her, Yadav said he “sensed someone was listening to the call”. According to Yadav, he got her to hand over the phone to the people with her — they have since been identified as the two main accused — and asked them where they were taking her.

“The men claimed they were taking her to Bengal and had crossed Agra, but I asked the girl, in Bangla, to send me her WhatsApp location. I then found out they were in Hansi, so I called on her number again and asked the men to turn the car around and bring her back to Delhi. They did that and, as soon as they reached, we began looking for a hospital bed for her. It was not until after her last rites that we found out that she had been sexually assaulted, when her father came and told us,” said Yadav.

“If the men had not brought her home, we would have immediately alerted police, but since they followed our instructions, we thought we would investigate later about who took her and why,” he said, adding that the SKM “wanted to respect her father’s first right to register a complaint in the matter”.

Her father said she had participated in “protests for various causes before as well, including against NRC”.

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