On April 26, in Rajasthan’s Alwar district, five men on two motorcycles waylaid a young Dalit couple. The men forced the couple to stop, abused them, and forcibly took the woman — just 18-years-old — behind the sand dunes on the side of the road. There they gangraped her, recording their act. They also beat up the husband, taking away the Rs 2,000 he had with him.
The family of the victim has alleged that though they reported the case on April 30, police didn’t take action till as late as May 7, when they first made their first arrests. By then, a video of the gangrape had been circulated on social media.
The case has caused nationwide outrage, and has also resulted in a political slugfest. The opposition BJP has cornered the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in Rajasthan, accusing it of covering up the matter before the Lok Sabha elections. Gehlot has hit back, accusing the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of playing politics over the case. Meanwhile, BSP chief Mayawati – who has six MLAs supporting the Gehlot government – has called for the Supreme Court to take action against the state and its police.
The Indian Express takes a look at the five men who have been accused of gangraping the woman, along with a sixth man who has has been arrested for allegedly circulating the video of the incident.
Chotelal Gurjar: The main accused in the case, Chotelal has worked as a truck driver and does odd jobs. Till a few months ago, he allegedly also ran an illegal liquor station, not far from the spot where the gangrape took place. Chotelal has previous criminal cases registered against him at the Bansur police station in Alwar, and has been booked for offences such as loot.
Hansraj Gurjar: A cousin of Chotelal, Hansraj is currently enrolled in an industrial training institute (ITI). On April 26, the day of the crime, the five men accused of gang-raping the Dalit woman had come to Hansraj’s house to attend a function that his family was hosting.
Indraj Gurjar: Married to Hansraj’s sister, Indraj drives a tractor to earn a living.
Ashok Gurjar: He works at a tea stall.
Mahesh Gurjar: An illiterate man who used to do odd jobs along with the other accused. He is Ashok’s uncle.
Mukesh Gurjar: Accused of circulating the video of the gangrape, Mukesh is a resident of the same village as Hansraj and worked as a labourer on farms.
According to Alwar rural circle officer Jagmohan Sharma, who is the investigating officer in the case, all six are aged between 20-25 years and used to do odd jobs of manual labour to earn their livelihood. Most of their villages are located within a radius of 15-20 kilometres in Alwar district, Sharma said.
The officer added that their investigation is still underway, and that they are yet to learn further details about the accused.