Nirbhaya re-run in Ayodhya: police going soft on accused?

A brutal rape of the seven-year-old girl in the temple town of Ayodhya has failed to draw the national attention and support for justice to victim. The police is accused of dithering on action against the accused, who allegedly enjoy political protection , reports Mudit Mathur

Another Nirbhaya like victim is just seven-year-old little Brahmin girl from the temple town of Ayodhya – a fast developing tourist destination branded as a “spiritual capital of the nation.” The painful screams and trauma of this little girl have largely gone unheard amid the high profile magnificent victory celebrations of the ruling BJP together with festivities of Holi. The brutal incident failed to draw the  national attention and support for justice to victim. The accused committed the  shameful crime just 700 meters away from Lord Rama’s birthplace where magnificent Ram Temple is coming up in 2023. The accused are said to be well connected influential people, who allegedly have political protection of a local MLA and a corporator.

The victim indicates there were three persons involved in her gang rape but police within no time nabbed two on account of CCTV footage obtained from the places nearby the crime spot but police arrested one labourer and allowed his owner to walk free allegedly due to a huge political pressure. The victim disclosed her ordeal to her parents after she regained her consciousness but the local police is yet to take proper cognizance of her father’s request seeking justice.

The BJP won majority raising issues of women security and good governance with zero tolerance to crime and criminals – bulldozing big mafias, but it failed to nab all the three alleged culprits to ensure justice to the poor Brahmin family of the victim.

Curiously, while various agencies of UP police swung into action just after the incident of April 3 at Gorakhnath Mutt and hauled up all the national and international contacts and accounts of the arrested IIT  Bombay alumna, but in Ayodhya, the worrisome gross negligence is quite visible putting a question mark on the impartiality of investigators. The unexplainable delay in proper investigation in Ayodhya gang rape case obviously raises questions on the role of the police who find no time due to security arrangements for Ramanavami celebration violating mandate of apex court directing law enforcing agencies how to investigate such cases.

The rape survivor is battling for life, who was found in an unconscious state profusely bleeding from her private parts on March 16 at around 8.30 p.m. in a secluded place near Digambar Akhara and doctors at the District hospital immediately referred her for Trauma Centre Lucknow due to her serious condition. The survivor was found lying lifeless in a pool of blood at Mohalla Bairag Pura under the local Kotwali police station area, which is around 700 meters away from the Ram Janambhoomi site where construction of Ram temple is going on round the clock.

“The survivor was playing hide and seek with other children of her age group on Wednesday evening. However, when she did not turn up even after several hours, her parents started a search operation,” said Shailesh Pandey, superintendent of police, Ayodhya. “We used local intelligence and footage from CCTV cameras in the area to track the accused. We have registered an FIR against him under Section 363 and 376 of IPC and Section 3 and 4 of POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act,” he added.” The arrested accused, identified as Rajan Manjhi, works as a labourer, he disclosed.

“The horrifying nature of the crime is borne out by the injuries inflicted upon her that left her vaginal canal and anorectal cavity gravely ruptured and the child was left without a normal defecation system. The little girl is in a psychologically traumatised condition and anxious about her full recovery,” said Prof S.N. Kureel of paediatric surgery department of King George Medical College. “Her reproductive health, we believe, has not been affected with this,” he added.

“After two months we have to perform a complex surgery on her to reconstruct the ruptured anorectal sphincter. Only after that will we know if she has retained her normal bodily functions of excretion. It will take another four months for them to perform a complex surgery on her lower gastrointestinal organs. Subsequently, it will be after its healing that they will know if the girl can regain her normal excretory functions,” the doctors opined.

The child rape survivor had gone back home to Ayodhya with a deep trauma as a colostomy plastic bag has been surgically placed to collect fecal matter, treating infection and swelling in her private parts. She will now come back to KGMU after 21 days for a follow-up. Meanwhile, the Ayodhya police has taken girl for recording her statement under section 164 CrPC before the Judicial Magistrate-III Jyotsna Rai after 22 days of incident and now police have to officially take action according to her testimony which has by now over delayed.

A video clip of victim girl went viral in which she is heard saying that the accused were three in number who were responsible for her miserable condition as they had outraged  her criminally. She said they tried to kill her inflecting murderous injuries telling that they would be safe if she dies.  The authenticity of this video was confirmed by the victim’s mother as her daughter’s video and demanded immediate arrest of other two absconding accused.

The victim’s father while speaking to “Tehelka” lamented over the treatment they were meted out by the administrative machinery. They are spending money from their stressed household funds as grant of Rs 50,000 to medical college was insufficient money in view of her costly medical treatment. They purchased medicines from the market and borrowed from well-wishers to meet the expenses. “My elder brother who was just 35-year-old also died due to shock as he suffered sudden cardiac arrest leaving his four kids behind. Raising the four kids will also be my responsibility now,” he said.

The victim’s father came back to Ayodhya for performing his last rites. Despite all the misfortunes and administrative apathy, however, he was optimistic that once the matter comes in the knowledge of Maharaj ji (chief minister Yogi Adityanath), his woes would be finally redressed. The girl’s father works part time as a tourist guide and puts up shop during festival sessions.

Former DGP Dr Vikram Singh analysed the role of local police on the basis of trail of events pertaining to this brutal gang rape case and supported the demand of strict action against the police personnel involved in probing the matter so far in the light of Supreme Court directives in such grave cases.

He expressed his displeasure over the way investigations are being carried out clearly intended to spare the influential people. Such police officers deserve to be acted against as per new changes effected in investigation procedure as an aftermath of Nirbhaya case. He expressed surprise as to why the investigations in the case were not transferred to some women officer.

In Ayodhya, social workers have staged protest march over the inaction of police. Social worker Archana Tiwari sat on fast-unto-death along with her children and husband but she was forcibly evicted from area around Gandhi statue and was taken to a local hospital. Several social activists including Meenakshi Upadhyay, Aprna Jaiswal, Anita, Sunita, Hariom Pandey, Mamata, Suman, Sarojni, Dwarika Prasad and Roop Kumar took out procession demanding arrest of  the accused persons who have evaded arrest so far to give justice to victim and her family. Archna Tiwari came to Lucknow and resumed her protest before Gandhi statue in GPO park.