Patna witnessed a horror show on Thursday (July 24) when a bunch of men beat up a woman and then virtually stripped her in full public view. What is shameful about the incident is that it all happened in broad daylight on one of the city's busiest roads near Gandhi Maidan in central Patna and not a single person in the entire crowd dared to intervene.
If that wasn't enough, the police arrived half an hour later, watched the show for another hour before taking the culprits to the police station. The humiliation lasted close to two hours.
Police sources revealed that the woman had told them she had been lured to Patna by one of the men, Rakesh, who took her to a hotel and invited some friends over. The men then proceeded to force her to have sex. When she ran away they chased her. Additional director general of Police Neelamani claimed the woman was already in the flesh trade. He said the assault followed a disagreement over money.
The situation turned ugly when Rakesh and his friend started stripping her. They claimed that she was a sex worker and had tried to entice them. However, the woman snatched Rakeshs mobile, which she told the crowd had the numbers he contacted before bringing her from Jasidih in Jharkhand to Patna. Hearing her version, a group in the crowd beat up Rakesh.
Preliminary investigations have suggested that Rakesh has close links with the flesh trade, said IG (Patna Zone) Sunil Kumar.
Meanwhile reacting to the heinous incident National Commission for Women (NCW) chief Girija Vyas said, "I am shocked seeing it on TV, we have asked for a report. Severest punishment should be given to the men. It is also shocking to see that civil society either participated or watched, venting their anger on a lady - she is not an object, she is a human being. I have written to the Commissioner for a detailed report, and written to the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to ensure the culprits are punished severely."
NCW member Ranjana Kumari criticised the way the government and administration had acted. She criticised Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's 'casual' reaction ordering an inquiry.
"What is there to inquire about? Just round up the boys who behaved in a brutal manner, and punish them. Otherwise others will be encouraged to do the same thing. Inquiries have today become a way for the culprits to get out of the net. The punitive law is weak and not enforceable, police are totally insensitive, when girl was brought to police station instead of catching those who brought her there they instead blames her. My blood boils to see the video," said Ranjana Kumari, expressing her confidence that NCW chief would send a delegation to meet the Bihar government and demand action on the incident.
Expressing outrage over the incident, the Congress demanded that the state government take immediate action against the molesters.
Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan said, "It is absolutely outrageous that a woman can be physically assaulted in this way in Patna in this modern day and age. This kind of moral policing is abhorrent in any democracy and cannot be allowed and I think it is vital that this should be treated as a serious crime by the local administration and very strict punishment be given to the people who perpetrated this outrage."
The incident has also drawn sharp criticism from former Women and Child Development minister Renuka Chowdhary who said, "If only we implemented our laws, and ensure existing laws are applied, that itself would be a huge deterrent. There also has to be a societal reaction invoked, NGOs should be up in arms. Every citizen irrespective of what trade she is in, is entitled to dignity. This is the responsibility of the chief minister - Nitish Kumar is a good man, he should make an example of this case which would be a huge signal. I think Girija Vyas is doing outstanding work, but she must be supported and supplemented by state chief ministers."
Timestv 24/ 07
Amid a strong public and political outcry across the state, police, which were accused of inaction, geared up to take against those involved in Thursday's molestation and stripping of a woman on a busy Patna road.
On Friday, Patna City SP Anwar Hussain said an FIR had been lodged with the Gandhi Maidan police against a man called Rakesh Kumar and a few other persons whose identities are not yet known. A second FIR pertaining to rape has been filed at the Kotwali police station on the basis of the victim's statement against Kumar and two other unidentified persons. Cops are raiding several places to arrest them.A third complaint was filed under the Immoral Traffic Act against the owner and the manager of the hotel, where the woman was staying. Both the owner and the manager were arrested on Thursday.
Hussain said the woman, a native of Dumka in Jharkhand, told police that Kumar had called her to Patna promising her a job. He said the victim had been sent for medical tests. "The results of the tests are yet to come," he added.
In the Assembly, the Opposition alluded the molestation in full public view to Draupadi's 'chirharan'. Opposition members trooped into the well carrying newspaper clippings and placards and chanted 'Mahila utpiran band karo', 'Chirharan band karo', 'Mahila ko suraksha do' etc. The House proceedings were stalled several times as the Opposition sought an adjournment motion over what they described as a "shameful happening".
The state Legislative Council, too, witnessed uproarious scenes. Congress MLC Mahachandra Prasad Singh moved an adjournment motion which acting council chairman Arun Kumar rejected. Kumar said the government will reply on Monday. Several RJD members, including Ghulam Gaus and Nawal K Yadav, slammed police for not taking action. "It reminded us of Draupadi's 'chirharan'," Gaus said.
Water resources minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav informed the state legislative council that a police inquiry into the incident was on.
The disrobing incident has put CM Nitish Kumar on the back foot. In the House, he had to hear Opposition jibes like 'sushashan nahi, ye Dushashan hai, chir haran ka sashan hai'.
Nitish described the stripping of the woman in public view as a 'slur on a civilized society'. He said, "The moment I came to know about it, I asked police to take stern action. The mobile police van should have been at the spot in 10 minutes. But it didn't happen." He said action has been initiated against the guilty cops. He added that two policemen in mufti saved the woman.
"I have asked police to take action and ensure a speedy trial in this case. If such incidents happen, it is also the responsibility of senior district officials," he
He, however, expressed surprise that the incident happened in full public view and yet nobody bothered to prevent the guilty persons from stripping the girl. "This is also the problem of society. You can change a government, but not a society," Nitish.
Meanwhile, NCW has sought a report from the Bihar government over the incident with chairperson Girija Vyas saying she was "shocked to see TV footage'' of the incident adding not only its perpetrators but also the spectators ought to be punished.
TNN 25 July 2009
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