An FIR has been registered against six people for the alleged rape of a 25-year-old woman from West Bengal who had joined the farmers’ protest at Tikri border last month and died due to Coronavirus on April 30. The accused, police said, had accompanied her on her journey to the border.
According to police, they received a complaint regarding the matter on Saturday night from the woman’s father, who alleged that she was travelling with the accused, who were associated with the Kisan Social Army, and the group had left West Bengal on April 10.
“In his complaint to us, the victim’s father has said that the woman was sexually harassed on the train while travelling and on reaching the border too, she was raped by the accused,” said Inspector Vijay Kumar, Station House Officer (SHO) of the Bahadurgarh City police station, where an FIR has been registered under various sections of the IPC, including Section 376-D (gangrape).
On the intervening night of April 25-26, police said, the woman was taken ill, and admitted to a private hospital in Bahadurgarh, where she was undergoing treatment for Coronavirus. She succumbed to the infection on April 30.
“The woman’s father has claimed that she was in constant touch with him over the phone, and had confided in him about the assault prior to her death. A Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been formed to conduct a probe into the matter, headed by DCP (Bahadurgarh), and including myself. We are conducting investigations and hope to arrest the accused soon,” said the SHO.
Samyukta Kisan Morcha disowns ‘Kisan Social Army’
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha has also issued a statement in regard to the incident, stating that it “stands with the struggle for justice for our deceased woman colleague”, had “already taken strict action against the accused”, and is “committed to taking this fight for justice to its logical conclusion”.
Elaborating on the action taken, the statement issued read that the Tikri Committee of the Morcha had already removed “the tents and banners etc of the so called ‘Kisan Social Army’.
“The accused were barred from participating in the movement and public appeal issued for their social boycott. The SKM has made it clear that the Kisan Social Army was never the authorized social media voice of the SKM and none of its handles have anything to do with the movement. In addition to these steps, from day one the SKM has assured the family of the deceased colleague that it will extend them every possible support in any legal recourse that they prefer…The SKM will extend full cooperation to the police in bringing out the truth of this matter. No one shall be spared,” read the statement.
“The SKM recognizes that large-scale participation of women farmers and women farmer leaders is a unique strength of this movement. We wish to assure all women farmers and womens’ organisations that there shall be no compromise with women’s freedom, their autonomy and their agency. The SKM shall follow Zero Tolerance for any incident of sexual harassment, assault or violence against women…SKM is committed to creating an institutional mechanism to inquire into and redress any complaint of sexual harassment of any kind,” it added.