Dalit woman gang-raped by cops, FIR against seven 

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An FIR has been lodged on Sunday against seven police personnel including SHO of Sardarshahar police station in Churu, accused of beating and gang-raping a 35-year-old woman in custody.

The family members of a 35-year-old Dalit woman from Rajasthan’s Churu district have alleged that she was illegally detained on July 3 and kept in the police station for around eight days in connection with a theft and was later gang-raped by policemen. The woman is currently undergoing treatment at the SMS Hospital where she was admitted on July 11. 

On Sunday an FIR was lodged against the police personnel under sections 376D (gangrape), 376 (2) (A) (being a police officer commits rape), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 343 (wrongful confinement for three or more days) and 143 (unlawful assembly) of the IPC along with relevant sections of the SC/ST Act. The police had on Saturday recorded the woman's statement.

The victim's husband told the media in Jaipur that the cops subjected the woman to severe physical torture, including cutting her fingers and plucking her nails. “Police picked my 22-year-old brother on June 30 in connection with a theft case. Later, on July 3 police returned and picked him along with my wife as well. On July 6, my brother was murdered in the police station and my wife who saw this happening was gang-raped and kept in the police custody till July 10". 

According to police officials, the brother-in-law of the woman was arrested on July 6 and died on the same night in police custody, over which a judicial inquiry is being conducted by an additional chief judicial magistrate.

Earlier the family members of the deceased had accused police of torture after which the District Magistrate ordered an inquiry and found that 22-year-old man had died of torture in lock-up. Following this on July 8, Churu SP had suspended eight policemen, including SHO Singh, and removed 26 others from active police duty.

On July 11 evening, a video went viral where the woman was lying on the floor and the women who surrounded her saying that she was beaten and gang-raped by policemen of Sardarshahar police.

Taking cognisance of the video, late on Friday night (June 12), Churu SP Rajendra Kumar was recalled, while circle officer Bhanwar Lal Meghwal was suspended.

DGP Bhupendra Singh said that so far eight cops, including SHO Ranveer Singh, of the Sardarshahar police station have already been suspended and 26 others sent to police lines. "The FIR has been registered. A judicial probe into the custodial death is already underway and the crime branch (CID-CB) will investigate the entire case".

Dalit activist Dharam Chand Kataria told the media that the community will hold a protest march outside the Rajasthan assembly on Tuesday if the investigation is not properly done.

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