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.
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:-
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)
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
2) Video: Rape allegation against OC of Bhadreswar police station. rape victim unfolds the fact, STAR ANANDA (Bengali), 23 April 2012
3) Rape slur on police officer, The Telegraph, 24 April, 2012
4) West Bengal cop rapes woman inside police station, Daily Bhaskar, 24 April 2012
5) Video: Bhadrshwar Rape Case -- CID will investigate, STAR ANANDA (Bengali), 24 April 2012
6) Officer-in-charge transferred after rape charge, The Times of India, 25 April, 2012
7) Police officer transferred after allegation of rape, Business Standard, 25 April 2012
8) Officer removed on rape complaint, The Telegraph, 25 April, 2012
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