Citing “lack of evidence”, Uttar Pradesh Police are yet to arrest any of the accused in the case of alleged gangrape of a 29-year-old woman in Hapur. The FIR was registered on Saturday and 16 people were booked for allegedly raping the woman over three years. The woman said that she set herself on fire on April 28 after the police refused to register an FIR in the matter.
The FIR was registered 14 days later, after Delhi Commission for Women wrote to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Friday demanding action.
“All her family members and acquaintances have been questioned. Teams have been sent to the village to gather information. So far we have not received any evidence in support of the allegations. If we find evidence, we will arrest the accused and further action will be taken. There is no strong evidence, prima facie, to make arrests,” said Hapur SP Yash Veer Singh.
In the FIR, the woman narrated multiple incidents of alleged rape by various residents of a village between 2016 and 2018. She claimed she was married off at the age of 14, and later divorced the man after bearing a child.
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According to the FIR, she was allegedly “handed over” to her second husband for Rs 10,000 by her father. This man lived in a different village in Hapur, where she lived for approximately five years. The second husband owed money to a neighbour, who allegedly raped her because the money was not returned on time.
She also worked as a domestic help in some houses in the same village, where she was raped by her employers, the FIR alleged. It also alleged that she was impregnated by one of her rapists and gave birth to the child.
When she set herself on fire, the police said, she was staying in Moradabad with a man who runs an NGO. Humiliated and embarrassed, and facing police inaction despite several pleas, the woman set herself on fire in a rented apartment in Moradabad, the FIR said.
She was referred to a government hospital in Delhi, where she is receiving treatment. “Most of the injuries are on the chest, abdomen and upper part of the arm. She suffered 35% burn injuries and we will have to perform skin grafting from thighs to upper part of the chest and neck. Her condition is stable and she will definitely make it,” said a doctor who is closely monitoring her condition.
The police, meanwhile, said the woman was not a minor at the time of marriage. “She got married at the age of 19 and got divorced later… The victim also alleged that she was raped in Meerut. We are seeking information from local police and will act accordingly,” said the Hapur SP. The police are also investigating allegations against her father who, as per her statement, sold her for Rs 10,000.
The NGO founder said the woman took the extreme step because she was tired of running from pillar to post for justice. “We have been fighting to get the accused arrested. But the continuous humiliation forced her to take this step,” he said. He met the woman in March 2018 in the Hapur village but said they could never return.
“The whole village knows about the case. My father is asking me to hush up the matter, otherwise there will be a lot of humiliation,” he said.