Consider this: a minor girl who was allegedly raped at least four times by her relative was made to visit two different police chowkies and two police stations before her complaint was lodged – an ordeal lasting six hours.
The incident took place on Tuesday. The fifteen-year-old victim was staying at her aunt’s place with her brother after their parents passed away. Here, her cousin allegedly subjected her to sexual assaults repeatedly.
The victim’s brother was deeply shocked on learning this and convinced his sister to approach Childline. Following her call to the helpline on Tuesday morning, asocial worker accompanied the brother-sister duo to Swargate police station.
Adding to the woes
Anuradha Sahasrabuddhe, director of Childline said that the kids had left their aunt’s house without eating anything in the morning. At Swargate police station, officials asked them to approach Dattawadi police chowkie and then Parvati Darshan police chowkie. She said, “After waiting for nearly half an hour at the second police chowkie, the kids were asked to go to Dattawadi police station to register a complaint. Upon reaching there, they were made to wait another 45 minutes, as the concerned officers had left for lunch.”
Moreover, sahasrabuddhe alleged that a male head constable, reporting to API Swapnali Shinde, asked the girl to narrate details of what had happened with her. “Cops should treat victims with dignity. It is improper for a male constable to ask details related to such an offence or seek information on what clothes the victim was wearing at the time. I am shocked to learn that it all happened in the presence of a competent lady officer,” she told MiD DAY.
Moreover, Sahasrabuddhe alleged that a male head constable, reporting to API Swapnali Shinde, asked the girl to narrate details of what had happened with her. “Cops should treat victims with dignity. It is improper for a male constable to ask details related to such an offence or seek information on what clothes the victim was wearing at the time. I am shocked to learn that it all happened in the presence of a competent lady officer,” she told MiD DAY. The law says irrespective of jurisdiction, whichever police station or chowkie a victim approaches should register a case.
Meanwhile, Dattawadi Police have arrested 24-year-old Swapnil (last name not revealed to protect victim’s identity), the accused, under section 376 of IPC and section 4 of The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
The other side
API Swapnali Shinde denied the allegations and said there was no delay on part of cops to register a complaint. “The case was lodged at 4 pm. We even sought help from female vigilance committee members, as such offences have to be handled sensitively.” But, contradicting the investigative officer’s claims, Sahasrabuddhe said that she had to contact ACP Vasant Sonawane, urging him to intervene in the matter. ACP Sonawane said, “There was bandobast for a religious fair and around twenty police officials were busy there. After I received this call, I immediately contacted senior inspector Vijaysinh Gaikwad and then the officer was sent to register the victim’s complaint.
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