Published at TwoCircles.net on 26 January 2011 - 11:21am
Waliullah Ahmed Laskar
Guwahati: In another shameful incident in India’s North-Eastern state of Assam, a police officer has allegedly attempted to rape a 24-year-old Muslim college girl at her home under Borkhola police station in the Cachar district and when her mother came in to save her daughter the policeman mercilessly beat up the 60-year-old widow. Later the girl was threatened of dire consequences if she complained to the police about the incident.
On the pretext of searching for an alleged criminal, the policeman broke into the house and attempted to rape the girl. When her mother protested and tried to save her daughter, the cop beat the old lady seriously injuring her. When the victims have made complaints to the higher officials, they have been threatened with dire consequences. There is risk of impunity and concern for the safety and wellbeing of the victims.
According to information received by Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), Ms Zohra Begum (name changed), aged about 24 years, of a village under Borkhola Police Station in Cachar district, was sleeping at her home at night on 15th Dec. 2010 as usual. She lives with her mother since her father died. At about 12 o’ clock at mid-night, she heard someone knocking at the door vehemently. The girl woke up and asked the knockers for their identification and purpose. They told her that they were police officers and wanted to ask her about a fugitive. She replied them that she was unaware of him and his whereabouts. The raiding police team led by Sub-Inspector Mr. Ibrahim Khalilullah Kabir, officer-in-charge of Bhangarpar Police Outpost of Barkhola police station claimed that he had information that the criminal was hiding in this house and he demanded the girl to open the door. When she denied they forced their entry into the house. The victims stated that the police officer was accompanied by some male constables. No one from the locality or a female constable was with him.
The police officer asked Begum a few questions about the absconding criminal. Then suddenly he grabbed her by the hand and applied force upon her to rape her. At the noise of the scuffle and Begum’s scream, her mother woke up and she herself started screaming. She also tried to protect her daughter by placing herself between her and the invading officer. The police team got furious at the resistance and started beating and kicking both mother and daughter. The old lady could not endure the blows. She vomited profusely and then fainted.
Hearing the clamour, the neighbours started gathering. When the police officer saw the people coming, he fled way with his team.
The neighbours called an emergency medical service (at 108, a free medical service provided by the government) and the ambulance took them to the Silchar Medical College and Hospital, where they were given treatment. The condition of the old lady was serious. Later she was released from the hospital but is still receiving treatment at her home.
The young college girl lodged a written complaint to the district Superintendent of Police (SP) on 18th Dec. 2010. Before she made the complaint an unidentified person had made a call to her mobile phone on 17th Dec. and threatened her with grave consequences if she proceeded against the police officer. On 18th Dec. another person called her and threatened her likewise. The person was speaking in Assamese. So far, the SP has taken no actions on the complaint of the victim girl.
(The writer is Freelance Reporter and Human Rights Defender associated with Barak Human Rights Protection Committee)