A young Dutch girl, who was the victim of an alleged sexual assault by an autorickshaw driver in 2011, showed a rare display of courage and came back to India to depose in court, instead of following the usual practice of deposing via video conferencing.
In December 2011, the 18-year-old girl was travelling alone in an autorickshaw when the driver and his friend tried to rape her at Aarey Colony in Goregoan (East). The police had then arrested the autorickshaw driver Rajpati Nishad (21) from Nalasopara and his friend on the charge of attempt to rape and robbery.
The Vanrai police, assuming that she would depose via video conferencing as in most cases of sexual assault involving foreign nationals, since the victims do not like to come back to the country where they were attacked, were in touch with the Bandra police, who had handled a similar case.
The police, however, were surprised when she agreed to come to Mumbai and stand in front of the court to tell the judge about her ordeal.
Dhanaji Nalavade, now senior police inspector of DN Nagar police station, who was the investigating officer of the attempt to rape case, said that ever since the girl left for Netherlands in January 2012 he had been in touch with the Netherlands embassy.
In January 2015, Nalavade was contacted by the girl, who expressed her wish to come to India and depose in the court, which surprised Nalavade. “It is difficult for a victim to return on the place where she was targeted in such a manner, but the girl was brave enough,” said Nalavade.
After the girl expressed her wish to come to Mumbai, Nalavade wrote to the Netherlands embassy and requested them to arrange for her travel. The embassy agreed and paid for her entire travel and stay of three days in Mumbai, from January 12 to January 15.
The officer said that on January 14, the girl came to the fast-track court and gave her statement. “The statement would be helpful in the case. Now there there only two more witnesses left to record their statements,” said Nalavade.