Another deaf-mute tribal woman alleges rape in MP

Another deaf-mute tribal woman alleges rape in MP

One more hearing-and-speech impaired tribal woman in Madhya Pradesh has lodged a police complaint against the director of a hostel in Bhopal for allegedly raping her after showing pornographic material to her.

A case was registered here last night against Ashwini Sharma, the hostel's director, on the basis of the complaint filed by the 23-year-old woman, a native of Dhar district, Indore's Hira Nagar police station in-charge Mahendra Singh Bhadauria said today.

The victim, in her complaint, has accused Sharma of raping her after showing pornographic material to her, the official said, but did not divulge any further details.

The alleged incident occurred between December 2017 and February 2018, when the woman was staying in Sharma's hostel in Bhopal for her studies, Bhadauria said.

Based on her complaint, a case was registered under IPC sections 376 (rape), 377 (unnatural offence) and the relevant provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

The case diary was being transferred to the Bhopal Police for further investigation, Bhadauria said.

Sharma was arrested in Bhopal on August 8 after another 20-year-old deaf-and-mute woman lodged a police complaint, accusing him of repeatedly raping her during her stay in the hostel over the last three years.

So far, four FIRs have been lodged by the police on the basis of separate complaints from four deaf-and-mute women, including two sisters, accusing Sharma of sexually exploiting them.

The police had earlier said the accused used to run a hostel for hearing-and-speech impaired people in the Awadhpuri area of Bhopal.

Inspector General of Police (Intelligence) Makrand Deuskar had last week said the police would talk to all the inmates of the hostel.

On August 9, the opposition Congress had claimed that the hostel was aided by the Madhya Pradesh government's Social Justice department and demanded a thorough investigation into the incident and a social audit of all such hostels.

The party had drawn parallels with the Muzaffarpur (Bihar) and Deoria (Uttar Pradesh) shelter home rape cases, which have rocked the country after being unearthed in April-May and August respectively.

The Congress had yesterday claimed that the accused is an "activist of the RSS" and "enjoys the blessings" of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

Madhya Pradesh Congress's chief spokesperson Shobha Oza had also released a video, in which Sharma was seen standing close to Chouhan and touching the latter's feet.

She had alleged that Sharma's Facebook account was deleted to hide his connection with BJP leaders.

While the police had on Friday announced the setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the case, Oza had said the Congress did not have "faith" in it. PTI HWP ADU GK RC RC

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