Since 2009, a 40-year-old man had allegedly been threatening his eldest daughter into indulging him sexually at their house in Malwani in Malad (West). Harishankar Patwa, who was arrested yesterday, was remorseless even after locals blackened his face, beat him up and paraded him in the locality before turning him in.
“She is my daughter, and I will do whatever I feel like. Who are you to question me?” Patwa told local politician Afzal Sheikh, who helped nab him.
The inspector on duty at Malwani police station said that locals brought the accused yesterday after they caught him sneaking into his brother-in-law’s house to rape the daughter. The girl, now 18, screamed for help, and her mother and neighbours came and caught Patwa. They then tarnished his face, paraded him. According to the Malwani police officers, Patwa who works for a private company, is the father of three daughters and a son. The victim told them that he had been molesting her for the past three years, and would threaten that he’d kill her if she gave him away.
She said that in November 2009, when her mother and siblings had gone to their hometown in Varanasi, she stayed back with her father to study for her exams. “One night he came home drunk and asked me to strip. I was scared but could not protest. My father then molested me and threatened me. He said that if I told my mother, he would kill me and my siblings,” the victim told MiD DAY. “When my mother returned, I tried telling her but she did not believe me and told me not to talk about my father in such a manner.”
Officers investigating the case said that three months ago the girl again complained to her mother about the regular sexual abuse. Following this, the mother confronted the accused. “But he told my mother that he would keep doing it and we can’t do anything to stop him,” the victim said.
The mother separated from him, and went to stay at her maternal home along with her children, cops said. “The man still did not quit sexually abusing his daughter. He intimidated her into doing his bidding,” added the officer.
Although initially reluctant, the mother finally approached cops following yesterday’s incident, after support and counsel from local politicians.
“Such people need to be punished. They ought to be taught a lesson, which should serve as a warning to all others who dare to commit such crimes,” said Afzal Sheikh, who helped the mother lodge a complaint.
Cops registered a case under sections 354 (molestation), 509 (sexual assault) and 506 (II) (threat and intimidation). “In her statement, the girl has said that the man had molested her but not raped her. We have sent her for a medical examination but as the incident happened in November, it will not show in the report,” said ACP Jaywant Hargude.