The police have lodged a case against six people, including the SHO and the girl’s aunt, after the incident came to light when the girl narrated her ordeal to members of a child helpline. The SHO was suspended, following a complaint lodged by the girl’s mother on Tuesday, and arrested on Wednesday.
The case triggered heated reactions from the Opposition, with Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra saying in a series of tweets that reforms needed in law and order were being “suppressed in the noise of bulldozers” — a reference to the state government’s demolition drive against history sheeters.
The Samajwadi Party called for strict action against the guilty, and said that its chief Akhilesh Yadav visited the rape survivor’s family and “assured them of all help”.
Taking suo motu cognizance of media reports on the incident, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued notices to the UP Chief Secretary and DGP calling for a report within four weeks.
The girl, who is a school student, is the daughter of a farmer and currently in the custody of the Childline Welfare Committee. “All six accused, including the SHO and the victim’s aunt, have been arrested. The SHO has been arrested from Prayagraj,” said ADG (Kanpur Zone) Bhanu Bhaskar. The four accused men and the aunt are neighbours of the victim.
The ADG has directed DIG (Jhansi Range) Jogendra Kumar to conduct an inquiry “into the entire matter” and submit a report in 24 hours.
Lalitpur SP Nikhil Pathak has shunted out all police personnel from the police station linked to the case and attached them with Reserve Police Lines. “The action has been taken to ensure that no one influences the investigation,” said a senior police officer.
According to the mother’s complaint, the four men allegedly kidnapped her daughter on April 22 and took her to Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh. It states that they stayed in Bhopal for three days when the girl was allegedly raped.
According to the complaint, the men allegedly left the girl at the police station on April 26, following which the police handed her over to her aunt. The complaint stated that a day later, the police called the girl to the police station to record her statement — and that in the evening, the aunt took her to the SHO’s room where he allegedly raped her.
“Once again, the girl was handed back to her aunt, and her parents were allegedly kept in the dark. On April 30, the police handed the girl over to the Childline team for counselling and she narrated her ordeal,” a senior officer said.
On Tuesday, the girl and her parents, with assistance from officials, met senior police officers. A case has been lodged on charges of rape, criminal conspiracy and kidnapping, and on sections under the POCSO Act and SC/ST Act.
“The case has been filed on the sequence of events provided by the girl’s mother. We are verifying all details,” said a police officer.
“It is part of our investigation to find out why the rape case was not filed when the victim reached the police station the first time (April 26),” SP Pathak said.
Police sources said that during preliminary inquiry, the location of the four youths was found to be in Jaipur after they allegedly kidnapped the girl.
“Medical examination of the victim has been conducted and the report is awaited. Her statement has also been recorded before a magistrate,” SP Pathak said.
Targeting the Yogi Adityanath government, Priyanka Gandhi tweeted in Hindi, asking “if police stations are not safe for women, where will they go for complaints?” She asked if the UP government has given serious thought to “increase deployment of women in police stations, to make police stations safe for women”.
The Samajwadi Party tweeted in Hindi that “the biggest question in the BJP government is whom to trust and whom not to”. “A minor, who came to file a rape complaint, was raped by the SHO… Now the CM should tell where victim daughters should go. Ensure security for the victim and take strict action against those found guilty,” it said.