Two years after the sensational gang rape case of two inmates of Jamiatulswalehat Al Islamia Madrasa in Allahabad,the five men who had been named accused by UP Police were released from jail on Sunday after a local court found no evidence against them.
The case a comment on the functioning of the UP police had rocked the state when inmates complained that three men had abducted two girls of the madrasa on the night of January 17,2007.
Following this,the police came under attack for its dubious role in the matter. They,however,arrested five men all people of modest means who earned their living by working as tailors and accused them of gangrape.
In their statements,the victims said they were not involved in the crime but the police pressed ahead with their prosecution.
For Lambu alias Sheruddin,Munna Ekhlakh,Naushad Ahmad,Sheebu and Mohammad Bade and their families the ordeal ended only when Additional Session Judge Brijesh Kumar Mishra acquitted them on Saturday.
In his order,the judge observed: There are contradictions among the eyewitnesses and witnesses regarding the timing of incident,identification of accused and other circumstantial evidence. The court cannot deny the incident,but the accused do not appear to be the culprits.
We had been pleading for years that they are innocent,but no one listened to us. The police framed them at the behest of a Samajwadi Party leader, alleged Razia,Naushads mother.
Who will compensate for our sufferings? My husband was the only earning member in the family. I had to beg and work as a maid to fight his case, said Lambus wife Nagma.
On the night of the incident,three persons entered the madarsa,run by Wasiullaha the brother the alleged mastermind of Varanasi temple blast Waliullah at Birampur under Kareli police station. They abducted two girls. Later,two more persons joined them and raped the girls on the bank of a nearby river.
Although the Kareli police station was informed,the policemen did not visit the madarsa the same night. On Janauary 18,they lodged a case of molestation. As the news of the incident and the role of the police spread,protests broke out. On January 19,the police changed the case to that of gangrape,trespass,insult and threat to life.
The same day,BSP chief Mayawati announced that she would order a CBI inquiry if her party won in the next Assembly elections. Promptly,the police arrested the tailor. But accepting the misconduct on the part of Kareli station officer Rajesh Singh,then Senior Superintendent of Police B D Paulson suspended him. Singh is facing several inquires for his alleged nexus with jailed MP Atiq Ahmad.
Nevertheless,the police made no attempt to correct its mistakes. Not even when the victims,during the identification parade held on March 4,2008,denied that the arrested men were their tormentors.
S A Naseem,counsel for the accused,said the case was mishandled by police due to pressure from Atiq Ahmad under the then Samajwadi Party government. A CB-CID inquiry is on into the matter,including Atiqs role.
I dont know who the real culprits are. But they are still at large. My daughter has not got justice, said the father of one of the victims. Wasiullaha also said the courts decision was correct as the persons booked were not the real culprits. He said he would seek legal opinion to get justice for the victims and expose the culprits.
Additional government advocate B K Dubey also blamed the police for mishandling the case from the beginning and said that he had sent a report to the government.
Naseem said it was an ideal case for seeking damages from the police,but was not sure if his clients had the resources to fight it.