The family members of a 35-year-old Dalit woman from Rajasthan’s Churu district have alleged that she was gangraped by policemen and illegally detained for around eight days in connection with a theft case.
According to police officials, the brother-in-law of the woman was arrested on July 6 and died the same night in police custody, for which a judicial inquiry is being conducted by an additional chief judicial magistrate.
Talking to reporters in Jaipur on Saturday, the woman’s husband said, “On June 30, police picked my 22-year-old brother in a theft case. On July 3, they came with him but when they took him back the same day, they took my wife too. Later, on the night of July 6-7, police tortured and murdered my brother. My wife, who witnessed the torture, was gangraped by police. They also plucked her nails, hurt her eyes and fingers.”
He added that even after the death of his brother, his wife was forcibly kept in police custody till July 10.
Following the allegations levelled by the woman’s family, the Department of Personnel issued an order late Friday night, removing Churu SP Rajendra Kumar Sharma and putting him on ‘awaiting for posting’. The officer of the police circle concerned has been suspended as well.
Earlier, following the death in police custody, the SHO of the police station concerned, along with one head constable and six constables, had been suspended by the SP.
Another of the woman’s brothers-in-law said, “On July 6, police briefly brought my brother to the village and told him it was the last time he will be seeing his family. After around eight days in police custody, when my sister-in-law came back home on July 10, her condition was very bad.”
The woman was admitted to a hospital in Jaipur on July 11, following which the family submitted a memorandum to authorities on Friday, demanding action.
Additional Director General of Police, Crime, B L Soni told The Sunday Express the woman’s statement was being recorded. “We have decided to register a case on the basis of her claims and get it investigated by the Crime Branch,” he said.
While the family maintains that the man who died in custody was picked up by police on June 30, police say he was rounded up on July 3.
“On July 3, the local police received information that a suspected thief was caught by villagers in a nearby hamlet. On reaching the spot, they found this man who had been beaten up by the villagers. He was brought to the police station, where police found that last year, he was named in an FIR for theft lodged by a man from his village. However, no chargesheet was filed in the case,” said Prakash Kumar Sharma, Additional Superintendent of Police, Churu, adding that the man was sent home the same day, July 3.
“Local police say that on the evening of July 6, police went to his village and arrested him. Those posted at police station have claimed that around 1.45 am, he fell sick and after he was taken to hospital, the man died at 2.15 am,” said Sharma.
He added that the interim report by the medical board that conducted the post-mortem procedure termed the reason of death as cardiac arrest and the post-mortem report and other facts related to the circumstances of the death of the man are being investigated in the judicial inquiry.
He added that police came to know about the allegation of rape levelled by the woman after she was admitted to the Jaipur hospital.
In Jaipur, Dalit activists, hit out at the government for the delay in filing FIRs in the cases of custodial death and alleged rape, and threatened to protest outside the state Assembly.