Same day, another rape: Local police take 12 hours just to register an FIR

As media focuses on Uber cab case, rape of a 6-yr-old goes virtually unnoticed

Around the time a dozen police teams were hunting for Uber cab driver who had allegedly raped a finance company executive, in another part of the city, the father of another rape victim – a six-year-old girl – was having a hard time even to get the FIR registered.

But in this case, which happened just hours before the rape in the taxi, nobody seemed to be in a hurry. Though two policemen visited the crime spot the same night – and found the alleged cuprit absconing – it took 12 hours for an FIR to be registered. No 'special teams' were formed.

Instead, the job of reporting the presence of the accused in the locality was handed over to Naresh Kumar, the victim’s father. “Go home and be on the lookout. Inform us as soon as you see him,” Naresh was allegedly told by some policemen at the local police post in outer Delhi’s Aman Vihar.

A written complaint was taken down, but initially no FIR was registered. Nor was the victim sent for a medical examination.

The girl's father asked the cops to give him their phone number so that he could keep in touch, but the request was turned down. He was told to come personally to the police post if  needed.

“I do not even own a bicycle. Walking to the chowki from my home would take me 20 minutes,” says Naresh.

Naresh Kumar was asked to report to the chowki with his daughter Gudiya* the morning after the alleged rape that took place at about 7 pm on December 5.

There were three policemen at the chowki when Rajesh reached there with his daughter.
“When I sought action, one policeman said he needed to sleep. Another policeman said he had completed his shift and asked me to see another policeman who said he was hungry,” alleges Naresh.

Naresh then visited local councillor Ram Dayal Mahto who called the police control room. Things moved after that. An FIR was registered and  the victim sent for a medical examination.

The victim’s mother claims she and her daughter had gone to buy  groceries from a shop in the locality. After reaching home, she sent her daughter back to return a polythene bag to the shopkeeper Amar Nath Tiwari.

“When my daughter did not come back after some time, I sent my three-year-old son to check. He returned and told me that she was crying. I went to the shop and found my daughter naked, crying on the shopkeeper’s lap,” alleges the mother, adding that Tiwari was indulging in digital rape. Molestation of this kind is treated as rape under the new law.

Tiwari allegedly began offering candies to Gudiya as soon as her mother asked her if the shopkeeper was molesting her. “But my daughter refused the candies and narrated everything in front of the gathered neighbours,” claims her mother. Some neighbours advised Gudiya’s parents that they approach police.

A senior police officer accepts that there were allegations of delay in filing a case and not bringing it to the notice of senior officers at the local police station. The officer says it was probably a head constable's fault.

The decision to not file a case the same night must have been taken by the policeman because the accused was found absconding and he might have wanted more time for investigation, the officer reasons.

“Prompt action was taken after a PCR call was made the next day,” the officer says.
While the Uber cab rape victim and her family got widespread support from the media and the general public, Gudiya’s family has been fighting a lonely battle.

Naresh, a factory worker, is aware of the difference in the attention the two cases have received.

He says the media would generally be uninterested in his story because of his “background” and the rural area of Delhi he lives in. Only a few media organisations, including Deccan Herald, reported this alleged rape. 

While the accused in the Uber case was arrested within 48 hours of the crime, Tiwari was nabbed four days after the offence. He was allegedly hiding at a relative’s home.

Threats received

Gudiya’s family’s troubles were not limited to police response. The family alleges that Tiwari’s sons threatened them, asking them to back off. “They openly threatened the neighbours not to support us and threatened to have us evicted from our rented accommodation,” alleges Naresh Kumar's uncle who lives in the same neighbourhood.

Gudiya’s parents were also allegedly threatened at a hospital when the victim was undergoing a medical test.

A native of Bihar, Naresh and his family are seen as outsiders in the area. They are afraid they could be evicted, or worse harmed, when things settle down a bit.

As support, all they have is a policeman’s mobile phone number, given to them after the alleged threats were brought to senior officers’ notice, and contact details of a couple of journalists who have offered help. Tiwari's son allegedly also tried to buy off Gudiya’s parents.

“They offered us as much as Rs 5 lakh in cash for withdrawing the case. They took my wife aside and said they could write a plot of land in my daughter’s name if we withdrew the case,” alleges Naresh.

He says he told his wife he will severe her head if she agrees to a compromise.

“If I take the money today and withdraw the case, anyone in the locality can abuse my daughter in the future. Tiwari’s wife held my feet and asked me to forgive him. That made me sad, but I took a hard decision for my daughter’s sake and decided to seek punishment for him,” says the woman.

Gudiya seems to have recovered, outwardly at least. “She had refused to come out from behind an almirah for an hour on the day of the incident,” says her mother.

The girl isn’t allowed to go out of the house alone anymore. A parent now accompanies her to and from school.

Police say Tiwari has claimed innocence alleging that he was being framed for demanding Rs 5,000 that Gudiya’s parents owed him for grocery bought on credit. The house where the alleged incident took place was found locked when Deccan Herald visited.

While the courts will decide whether Tiwari is innocent or guilty, Gudiya nods immediately when this reporter asked her if the shopkeeper had misbehaved with her. “Ronak* se poocho (Ask Ronak about the incident),” she says referring to her three-year-old brother.
(Some names have been changed to protect identity)

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