Petition Closed
Petitioning To The Honourable President of India

Justice for a poor woman raped by a police officer in West Bengal

We are deeply concerned about a heinous incident of rape of a poor woman by a police officer in his official quarter followed by extraction of a retraction from the victim.

We have been informed by Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) that on 23rd April, 2012 afternoon, a poor woman (26 year old) was raped by Sub Inspector Mithun Banerjee, Officer-in Charge, Bhadreswar Police Station of Hooghly district, West Bengal at the police quarter.

Earlier, the victim woman’s husband was arrested being charged in a dacoity case and after 45 days in custody, he was released on 21st April, 2012. On the very night, two policemen from Bhadreswar PS chanced on him and asked him to come to the police station. Accordingly the husband visited Bhadreswar PS on 22nd April. As asked by SI Mithun Banerjee O.C., Bhadreswar PS, the husband summoned his wife to the police station over phone. At that time the O.C. took the mobile nos. of the victim and her husband.

The very next day (23rd April, 2012) afternoon, at around 3-30 pm, the O.C. Mithun Banerjee asked the victim to visit the police station immediately in connection with her husband's case. She proceeded to the Bhadreswar P.S. by an Auto-rickshaw. (According to media reports a police vehicle was sent to the victim's house to fetch her to the police station.)

When the victim reached the police station, the O.C. took her to his quarter. There was nobody in the quarter at that time. The O.C. took the victim to a room of the quarter and closed the door and windows. He threatened her if she did not obey silently, her husband would be in grave danger. After that he pounced on her. According to the victim’s complaint, she tried to resist but could not shout out of fear that she might be killed and she was raped by the O.C.

Later on, receiving a telephonic complaint from the victim’s husband, the Hooghly district committee of APDR assisted her to come forward for a medical examination at the nearest government hospital. But initially both the hospital authority and police administration were reluctant to entertain and act on the complaint of rape. Finally as the APDR members intervened, the victim could lodge a formal complaint at Chandernagore PS and the medical examination was carried out at Chandernagore Sub Divisional Hospital.

But deplorably after lodging the complaint the victim received the most inhuman treatment and was harshly treated by the state police like an accused of a serious crime. The police subjected her to terrible mental and physical stress almost for 48 hours at a stretch to coerce her into retracting the complaint.

Eventually, the police succeeded in extracting a statement of retraction from the victim u/s 164 CrPC after prolonged grilling and traumatisation coupled with aggravation of her thyroid disorder in absence of essential medication. She was not allowed to take assistance from any lawyer or friend -- even her husband was not allowed during grilling. All women’s justice organisations throughout the world advice rape victims not to talk alone with anybody even with the detectives.

Besides, like other such incidents of gross human rights violation, the police also instigated a slander campaign against the victim and fed the media with misinformation at regular intervals like 'no evidence of rape in medical examination', 'the woman has two marriages and is of bad character', 'the woman admits she is mentally disbalanced' so on and so forth.

We strongly feel and allege that the statement of retraction was not voluntary and extracted under duress and intimidation.

On the other hand, the accused Officer-in Charge of Bhadreswar PS was also not dealt with according to law. We have received information from APDR that surprisingly about half a dozen officer-in charges of different police stations assembled and decided on a strategy to rescue their colleague.

In the meantime, a team of APDR has conducted a fact finding against the tremendous odds and submitted the report to the statutory Human Rights Bodies including State Women's Commission, Human Rights Commission, the police administration and judiciary authorities concerned.

On 30th April 2012, a six member team of APDR visited the office of the Superintendent of Police, Hooghly; to submit a memorandum with a single demand that justice must be imparted to the poor victim. Although the SP himself fixed an appointment on that day at 11 am, the APDR members were told that he was unwell and could not attend office. ASP Mr. Ashesh Biswas, IPS received the APDR team and listened to their views and appeal for over an hour. He did not commit anything except that he would report the whole discussion to the SP. However, he did not categorically deny that the rape was committed. But regrettably no action has been taken hitherto.

WE DEMAND:

1) The allegation should be investigated by an independent agency which is not under the influence of the state police, as the accused is a police officer; we have strong apprehension that investigation would be wrongly influenced to save the accused from punishment. The State Women's Commission may initiate such a fair inquiry process. The statement u/s 164 CrPC obtained under duress from a traumatised victim must be kept in abeyance.

2) The allegation is of a non-bailable offence and the accused must be dealt with as per provisions of the law.

3) The victim woman along with her family and other witnesses must be provided adequate safety and security during the process of inquiry and trial.

WE APPEAL TO The Honourable President of India, National Commission for Women and National Human Rights Commissions to step in to help the victim woman get justice immediately.

WE ALSO APPEAL TO various rights organisations, women's organisations and all democratic individuals and organisations to condemn and raise their voices of protest in the strongest possible terms against this sinister design subverting the law to deprive a rape victim of justice.

Please join us demanding a fair and thorough investigation of the case by an impartial agency resulting into apposite legal actions against the perpetrator without any impunity and justice to the victim.

Please go through the online petition and sign, and circulate it among your friends and colleagues as widely as possible

Please check the following link for your ready reference:-

http://www.scribd.com/Manabatabadi1993/d/93990875-RAPE-OF-A-POOR-WOMAN-BY-O-C-BHADRESWAR-PS-WEST-BENGAL

Contents:
1) Photocopy of the complaint of the rape victim received by the O/C Chandernagore PS on 23.04.2012 (Page-2)
2) Photocopy of the official request made by APDR for Medical Examination of the Rape Victim received by the Emergency Medical OfficerChandernagoreHospital on 23.04.2012 at 9 PM (Page-3)
3) Photocopy of the injury report prepared by the Emergency Medical OfficerChandernagoreHospital on 23.04.2012 at 9.30 PM. (Page-4)
4) Photocopy of the receipt of APDR memorandum by the office of the SP. Hooghly. (Page-5)
5) APDR FACT FINDING REPORT (Page-6-9)

Kolkata Cop rapes a poor woman threatening dire consequences against her husband (Courtesy: KRACKTIVIST website)

http://kractivist.wordpress.com/2012/05/06/kolkata-cop-rapes-a-poor-woman-threatening-dire-consequences-against-her-husband/

P.S. Please refer to the following reports / videos on the Bhadreswar PS rape incident from various news media:-

1) Video: West Bengal: Woman Alleges Rape by Police Officer, IBN Live, 24 April, 2012
http://ibnlive.in.com/news/wb-woman-alleges-rape-by-police-officer/251697-3.html

2) Video: Rape allegation against OC of Bhadreswar police station. rape victim unfolds the fact, STAR ANANDA (Bengali), 23 April 2012
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iq1C686K72M

3) Rape slur on police officer, The Telegraph, 24 April, 2012
http://www.telegraphindia.com/1120424/jsp/bengal/story_15411412.jsp

4) West Bengal cop rapes woman inside police station, Daily Bhaskar, 24 April 2012
http://daily.bhaskar.com/article/NAT-TOP-west-bengal-cop-accused-of-rape-inside-police-station-3161366.html

5) Video: Bhadrshwar Rape Case -- CID will investigate, STAR ANANDA (Bengali), 24 April 2012
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tShQa6ylVPc

6) Officer-in-charge transferred after rape charge, The Times of India, 25 April, 2012
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-04-25/kolkata/31398715_1_police-station-cid-disciplinary-action

7) Police officer transferred after allegation of rape, Business Standard, 25 April 2012
http://business-standard.com/generalnews/news/police-officer-transferred-after-allegationrape/1290/

8) Officer removed on rape complaint, The Telegraph, 25 April, 2012
http://www.telegraphindia.com/1120425/jsp/bengal/story_15415840.jsp

Letter to
To The Honourable President of India
I just signed the following petition addressed to: The Honourable President of India.

---------------------------------------------
Initiate a fair inquiry to impart justice for a poor woman raped by a police officer
To
The Honourable President of India,
Rashtrapati Bhavan,
New Delhi – 110 004, INDIA
Fax: 91-11-23017290 / 91-11-23017824
Email: presidentofindia@rb.nic.in

Copy to:

1) To The Chairperson,
National Commission for Women
4, Deen Dayal Upadhayaya Marg,
New Delhi-110 002, INDIA
Fax: 91-11-23236154 / 91-11- 23236270
Email: chairperson-ncw@nic.in, ncw@nic.in
complaintcell-ncw@nic.in

2) To The Chairperson,
National Human Rights Commission
Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg,
New Delhi- 110 001, INDIA
Fax: + 91 11 2338 4863
E-mail: chairnhrc@nic.in, covdnhrc@nic.in,

SUBJECT: COMPLAINT OF RAPE OF A POOR WOMAN BY SI MITHUN BANERJEE, OFFICER-IN CHARGE, BHADRESWAR PS, WEST BENGAL IN HIS OFFICIAL QUARTER AND EXTRACTION OF A RETRACTION FROM THE VICTIM

Respected Sir,

We, the concerned citizens of India with a profound feeling of agony, would like to draw your kind attention to a shocking and appalling incident of rape of a poor woman by a police officer in West Bengal followed by extraction of a retraction from the victim reported by he Hooghly District Committee of Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR). It has been alleged that the victim with her family was severely harassed, grilled, terrorized and maltreated by the state police to compel her to withdraw the complaint of rape.
We are attaching a brief account of the incident for your ready reference. The identity of the victim is withheld in consideration of her right to social dignity and to prevent any potential social stigmatization.

Case Narrative:

On 23rd April, 2012, at around 4-00 -- 4-30 pm, a poor woman (26 year old) was raped by Sub Inspector Mithun Banerjee, Officer-in Charge, Bhadreswar Police Station of Hooghly district, West Bengal at the police quarter.
Earlier, the victim woman’s husband was arrested being charged in a dacoity case and after 45 days in custody, he was released on 21st April, 2012. On the very night, two policemen from Bhadreswar PS chanced on him and asked him to come to the police station. Accordingly the husband visited Bhadreswar PS on 22nd April, 2012. As asked by SI Mithun Banerjee O.C., Bhadreswar PS, the husband summoned his wife to the police station over phone. At that time the O.C. took the mobile nos. of the victim and her husband.

The next day (23rd April, 2012) afternoon, at about 3-30 pm, the O.C. Mithun Banerjee asked the victim to visit the police station immediately in connection with her husband's case. She proceeded to the Bhadreswar P.S. by an Auto-rickshaw. (According to media reports a police vehicle was sent to the victim's house to fetch her to the police station.)

When the victim reached the police station, the O.C. took her to his quarter. There was nobody in the quarter at that time. The O.C. took the victim to a room of the quarter and closed the door and windows. He threatened her if she did not obey silently, her husband would be in grave danger. After that he pounced on her. According to the victim’s complaint, she tried to resist but could not shout out of fear that she might be killed and she was raped by the O.C.

Afterward, the victim reported the whole incident to her husband and he tried to make contact with some news media over telephone. Later in the evening, he contacted the Hooghly District Committee of APDR. At around 8-30 pm, human rights activists of APDR came to know about this odious rape incident. They were informed that the young couple was seeking justice, but were too afraid to move alone and lodge a complaint against the offender O.C. APDR members advised them to go to the nearest government hospital and get medically examined first. They were even reluctant fearing that the hospital authorities would refuse. Finally, after being assured by APDR members that they would intervene if the hospital authorities turn down, the victim woman and her husband agreed to go to the nearest government hospital, the Chandernagore Sub-Divisional Hospital.

The couple reached the hospital by 8-45 pm, and requested for medical check up against their complaint of rape. As they feared, the Emergency Medical Officer on duty refused to attend them and get the woman medically examined. In about 15 minutes an APDR team also reached the hospital and tried to reason with the Medical Officer for immediate arrangement of medical check up. Lastly after submission of an official request on behalf of APDR, an outdoor ticket was prepared and after getting instruction from the Superintendent of the Hospital, necessary papers were being readied for her admission.

While all these were taking place, a well-built person was frequently coming in and going out of the emergency room and making calls with his cell phone. The hospital staff revealed that he was a police person in civil dress.

Meanwhile, APDR also contacted the Chairperson, West Bengal Women's Commission (WBWC) and also met the Superintendent of the Hospital in his quarter. The Chairperson, WBWC also called the Superintendent of Police, Hooghly. While the APDR team was discussing the matter with the Superintendent of the Hospital, he received a phone call and informed the APDR team that a police team would come to the hospital and if they make a formal requisition, necessary medical examination to ascertain the truth of allegation of rape would be conducted.

Within a few minutes, a huge contingent of police appeared, first led by Tathagata Basu, SDPO, Chandernagore, followed by IPS Mr. Amitabha Verma, ASP. They interrogated the victim woman and her husband for about an hour and in another hour the woman's handwritten complaint was received by the Officer-in Charge, Chandernagore PS, in which the victim categorically stated that she was raped by the Officer-in Charge, Bhadreswar PS in a room of the OC's quarter.

Medical Examination and Aftermath:-

After receiving the formal complaint from the victim, the Officer-in Charge, Chandernagore P.S. made a formal requisition for medical examination on her for alleged rape. The examination was carried out at Chandernagore Sub Divisional Hospital at late night. Surprisingly, the Emergency Medical Officer noted the allegation of rape “as per statements of the victim's husband”, although the victim herself narrated her plight and emphatically stated in presence of the APDR team that she had been raped by the O.C. of Bhadreswar P.S. The discrepancy was pointed to the Emergency Medical Officer immediately thereafter. He admitted his mistake and the matter was also communicated to the superintendent of the hospital at 11.30 pm.

On 24th April, 2012, morning the victim was discharged from the Chandernagore Hospital. Her husband along with their 5-6 year old son was waiting for whole night at the hospital, hungry and unfed. When the family was emerging from the hospital, they were forcibly placed in a police vehicle and taken to Imambarah Sadar Hospital at Chinsurah. Mr. Tanmoy Roy Chowdhury. IPS, SP Hooghly, Basab Talukdar, Special IG and other officials were present at the Imambarah Sadar Hospital. There was another round of grilling of the victim and her husband at the hospital. The victim was also subjected to a fresh medical examination. Though the victim made a formal complaint of rape against the O.C., Bhadreswar, P.S., no action was taken against the accused O.C. till then. Only towards the afternoon the news media reported that the O.C. is 'closed' and a later report said he was suspended.

After medical examination, the whole family was again put on a police vehicle at about 2 pm and was taken to the District Women P.S. situated at the Chinsurah PS premises. At 3 pm, they were again taken to the Imambarah Sadar Hospital and after about half an hour taken back to the District Women PS.

At 5 pm, APDR members learnt that the whole family was then at Bhadreswar PS and at about 9 pm, after the whole day's ordeal without sleep or rest accompanied by continuous grilling by a top brass of the police hierarchy, they probably left the police station. But they could not be found at their home and remained incommunicado for the next 36 hours.

On 25th April, 2012 they were again grilled by a big team of the CID and even his husband was not allowed to communicate with her for more than 8 hours. The accused O.C. was also asked to report to the CID Headquarters at Bhawani Bhawan, Kolkata.

Towards the afternoon of 25th April, the media citing police sources reported that the victim 'retracted' her allegation against the O.C.

On 30th April 2012, a six member team of APDR visited the office of the SP, Hooghly with a prior appointment to submit a memorandum with a single demand that justice must be imparted to the poor victim. Although the SP himself fixed the appointment on that day at 11 am, the APDR members were told that he was unwell and could not attend office. ASP Mr. Ashesh Biswas, IPS received the APDR team and listened to their views and appeal for over an hour. He did not commit anything except that he would report the whole discussion to the SP. However, he did not categorically deny that the rape was committed. But regrettably no action has been taken hitherto. No reply to the APDR representation was received from the SP till 18 May 2012

The Fact Finding Report by APDR has disclosed the following facts and loopholes of the police action:-

The initial reluctance of both the hospital and police administration to entertain and act on the complaint of rape and subsequent warlike activities -- both were aimed at suppressing the allegation and fact of the rape and deprive the woman of justice.

1) The couple was in their twenties and the husband returned home after 45 days in custody barely 40 hours prior to the incident of rape. In this situation, vaginal rupture during rape is quite unlikely. The only substantive medical evidence will be cross matching of the vaginal swab of the victim with the accused's semen. But it is not known, whether such medical examination was conducted or not. So far as we know the victim's clothing at the time of rape were not seized and not examined forensically for evidences of rape which is a must in such cases.

2) Like other such incidents of gross human rights violation, the police instigated a slander campaign against the victim and fed the media with misinformation at regular intervals like 'no evidence of rape in medical examination', 'the woman has two marriages and is of bad character', 'the woman admits she is mentally disbalanced' so on and so forth.

3) It is also not known whether the following bits of vital investigation were conducted by the police :
(a) Why the accused Bhadreswar PS O.C. was using an unregistered SIM for communicating with the woman, if such contacts were necessary as part of his official duty.
(b) The examination of Bhadreswar PS personnel to verify the victim's presence in the PS at the time of alleged crime.
c) Cross checking the description of the room of alleged crime at OC's quarter as given by the victim and as it actually is.
(d) Cross matching of vaginal swab of the victim with the accused's semen and forensic examination of victim's clothes at the time of alleged rape as mentioned before are absolutely necessary to rule out the allegation of rape.

4) The police tried to break the morale of the victim and subjected her to tremendous mental and physical stress from 4 pm, 23rd April to 25th April afternoon-- almost for 48 hours at a stretch. The resulting trauma made her ill. She felt acute pain in the head and felt mentally agonized to such an extent that she could not remember what she said earlier to the police. The victim is a patient of Thyroid disorder. Two days without necessary essential medication invariably disturbs the physical and mental equilibrium of the patient. This was the opportunity the police was looking for and without wasting a moment she was taken to a magistrate to record a statement extracted in the face of severe trauma.

5) Media reports suggest that the victim made a statement u/s 164 of CrPC retracting the allegation of rape, which was also repeated by the Honourable Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, during her press meet on 27th April, 2012. The sub section 6 of section 164 of CrPC states that the Magistrate recording a confession or statement under this section shall forward it to the Magistrate by whom the case is to be inquired into or tried.

In this context, the following questions need to be answered.

(a) How did the police/media know the contents of her section 164 statement, when the law specifically meant it for the judicial magistrate?
(b) Was the victim provided with legal advice/opinion on the consequences before she was forced to make a statement u/s 164 CrPC?
(c) Even if the victim retracted her complaint, could the accused be absolved before getting the forensic test reports and until then should the accused not to be dealt with as per law?
(d) Why was the victim taken to a magistrate to record a statement before the completion of the investigation based on her already registered complaint? Can this be explained without questioning the motive-- was police anxious to give justice to the victim or they were hell-bent in rescuing their colleague from the long hand of law?

6) The whole chain of events does not suggest that the victim's allegation was untrue. It rather points out how far and further the police can traumatise a victim of rape to get her retract her allegation. The treatment meted out to the victim is in blatant disregard of all human right standards. The traumatisation was aimed towards the whole family including the victim's five-six year old child, to subjugate the victim.

We hope you will agree that when a police officer uses his official position, official establishment, official vehicles and his subordinate staffs to force an accused’s wife to submit his carnal hunger, and the police establishment unites up to protect him covering up his dreadful offence and suppressing the victim, the trust of the citizens on the police ‘as a law enforcing agency’ naturally reach to its nadir.

In this context, WE DEMAND:

1) The allegation should be investigated by an independent agency which is not under the influence of the state police, as the accused is a police officer; we have strong apprehension that investigation would be wrongly influenced to save the accused from punishment. The State Women's Commission may initiate such a fair inquiry process. The statement u/s 164 CrPC obtained under duress from a traumatised victim must be kept in abeyance.

2) The allegation is of a non-bailable offence and the accused must be dealt with as per provisions of the law.

3) The victim woman and her family must be provided adequate safety and security during the process of inquiry and trial.

We strongly believe such an impartial and thorough investigation of the incident carried out by a neutral investigating agency with the utmost respect and empathy to the victim woman and her family can only confer justice to her.

Therefore, we urge your prompt intervention in this case to conduct a credible investigation followed by prosecution of the alleged perpetrator without any impunity.

We would feel highly obliged if you kindly look into the matter and take immediate necessary measures to help the victim to get justice.
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Thanking you,
Yours sincerely,