People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXVII

No. 24

June 16, 2013

 

JHARKHAND RAPE CASE

 

CPI(M) Leader Meets Home Minister

 

ON June 4, Brinda Karat, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and a former Rajya Sabha member, met the union home minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde in New Delhi and apprised him of the brutal gang rape and murder of the two 13 year old children, daughters of serving police personnel in Jasidih (Deogarh, Jharkhand) on May 25.

Shinde expressed shock at the case and assured that action would be taken. He said he would immediately contact the governorís office in Jharkhand to order a special investigation into the incident. He said he would look into the demand for action against the police officers who tried cover-up.

 

In this regard, Brinda Karatís letter to the home minister described as ďmost shockingĒ that the suspected rapists are also in the police force or are relatives of those serving. Urging the minister to appreciate the outrage and anger this has caused throughout the state of Jharkhand, the letter said if children living in the police lines were not safe and if reported involvement of police personnel in the crime is true, it reflected the most serious degeneration and criminality within a force which is supposed to be the guardian of law and order. Since Jharkhand is presently under presidentís rule, the letter said the central government must take the responsibility for immediate intervention. This is essential because of the condemnable cover-up and gross dereliction of duty by the local thana led by the DSP P K Shah, and the in-charge R Prashad.

 

As Bringa Karat was, coincidentally, in Deogarh when the mass protests against the rapes were on, she met the family of the victims as well as the administrative and police officials, and also procured copies of the FIR and the post mortem report. Thus her plea for the union home ministerís intervention was based on her direct knowledge of the facts of the case including the criminal negligence of the thana officials and the DSP of the area.

 

On May 25, the two girls left the police quarters at around 5.00 p m for a school friendís house but did not reach there and were clearly abducted on the way. When the girls did not return within a reasonable time, an alarm was raised by the family members. They went to search for the girls and filed by 8 p m a report at the Jasidih thana. But no action was taken. Even the next day, the DSP did not think it necessary to send out any search parties. According to the parents, he made objectionable comments about the whereabouts of the girls. In the evening next day, the brutalised bodies of the two girls were found in a nearby tank.

 

Saying that the police investigation was shoddy and there were allegations of a cover-up because of suspected involvement of other police personnel, the letter pointed out that the post mortem report detailed the brutalities these two children were subjected to, including rape. However, shockingly, the FIR did not include 376 and 376D, the provisions for rape and gang rape. The SP is new to the area and though there is no complaint against him, there was no support or expertise to conduct a proper investigation to ensure the arrest of the criminals. Even after ten days, except for one person who is a serving police employee, the criminals had not been identified. The DGP of the area had not yet visited the place. The deputy commissioner visited the families only after five days. This showed the utter callousness of the police and administration.

 

Brinda Karatís letter also said local people and families of police personnel had informed her that drunken men in the police lines had made life miserable and insecure for those living in the area with anti-social elements frequenting the area. A liquor shop next to the police lines is their meeting place.

 

The letter asked for urgent intervention on the following issues:

 

1) Direct intervention by the centre to ensure a speedy and expert investigation which the local police is not competent to do. Arrest of the criminals responsible for this brutal crime.

 

2) Action against the police personnel including DSP Shah. At present they have only been transferred and not even given the minimum punishment of suspension. An investigation is also in order as to whether they have deliberately sabotaged the investigation, in which case they should be criminally prosecuted under the new anti-rape laws.

 

3) There should be an enquiry into the situation in the police lines and appropriate action must follow.

 

On June 9, the CPI(M)ís Jhakhand state secretary, Gopikant Baksi, sent a letter to the governor of Jharkhand, reiterating the above-mentioned demands in connection with the barbaric of gang-rape and murder of two minor girls at Deoghar, and drawing his attention to the laxity with which the police was treating the case.