THERE’S a long line of cars, an ambulance and a police SUV outside the three-room house, where politicians of all hues mark their presence in a steady stream. In the courtyard, men from neighbouring villages are huddled on plastic chairs, occasionally glancing at a room in the corner.
Inside that room, the young victim of the gangrape that shook the nation finally speaks up in a choked voice: “Hamein phansi ki saza chahiye un logon ke liye (We want them to be sentenced to hang).” Nearby, her husband, who told police that he was forced to watch his wife being gangraped near their village in Alwar on April 26, struggles to hide his grief and anger.
Police have arrested all the six accused — five for the rape and the sixth for circulating videoclips of the crime. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sent a notice to the Congress government in Rajasthan. The state has removed the Alwar SP and suspended the in-charge of the local Thanaghazi police station for delay in action. And the Opposition BJP and Dalit groups have called for a speedy probe, and state-wide protests.
But all that is of little consolation for the husband and wife, who have just returned home after recording their statements before a magistrate. The husband, who is pursuing a technical diploma, is still rattled by a call he got on his mobile on May 30, when he reached Alwar SP Rajeev Pachar’s office to report the incident.
“I got a threatening call from the accused even as I was at the SP’s office. They were asking for money, blackmailing us and threatening to make videos of the gangrape viral. When we told the SP, he said the police will look into it but nothing happened,” he says.
According to police, they registered an FIR against five of the accused, all from the Gurjar community, on May 2 — the name of the sixth accused who shot the video was added later. “But the police took the matter seriously only after the video went viral two days later,” says the husband. SP Pachar is now waiting for his new posting order.
Recalling that nightmare of April 26, the husband says he was out shopping with his wife for a family wedding. “As we were on the highway, five men in two bikes followed us and later stopped us. They abused us and forcibly took my wife behind dunes of sand on the roadside. Then, they beat me severely and gang-raped my wife. For three hours, we were lying there as they filmed videos of us and took Rs 2,000 that I had with me,” he says, adding that they got married in 2016.
The victim’s father, meanwhile, steps in to assure his daughter that he will ensure justice for her. “Days after the crime, the accused were partying and moving around freely in nearby villages. We pleaded with police but they took no action. It was not difficult to arrest them… if they had done so, they wouldn’t have been able to circulate the video. We are ruined by police inaction,” says the father of six daughters.
“We tried to call several politicians but everybody said they were busy with the Lok Sabha elections in Alwar on May 6. Even the police told us to wait till the elections got over,” says the father. “This has happened because we are Dalits. People feel that that we have no influence and can’t do anything. But I won’t rest till I get justice for my daughter.”