New Dehli: A 13-year-old girl in India who was reportedly gang-raped by four men was allegedly raped again by a police officer when she attempted to seek his assistance in reporting the original crime.
Authorities in Uttar Pradesh announced Wednesday that a police officer had been detained in connection with the alleged event, which has sparked anger across India, with many blaming police of contributing to the perpetuation of a systematic culture of sexual assault.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, a senior member of India’s opposition Congress party, tweeted on Wednesday, “If police stations are not secure for women, where will they go to complain?”
An inquiry into the alleged event at a police station in the state’s Lalitpur area is now underway. Following his detention, the cop at the centre of the claim assured reporters he was innocent and demanded an independent investigation. According to police, all cops on duty at the time of the alleged occurrence have been admonished, and action will be taken against them if they are proven guilty of any crime.
Separately, four men were arrested in April for allegedly kidnapping and raping the minor, according to police. They reportedly took the girl to the adjacent state of Madhya Pradesh, where she was raped and detained for four days, according to authorities. A lady has also been arrested in connection with the alleged event, authorities said.
According to authorities, they have also been accused of violating India’s laws intended to safeguard minority castes. The five have not been charged in any way.
Girijesh Kumar, assistant superintendent of Lalitpur police, told CNN on Thursday that the girl belonged to India’s Dalit group. Kumar stated that the accused police officer was also a Dalit.
The claimed event is the latest in a string of high-profile crimes against women and minority groups in India, which critics say exemplify pervasive internalised sexism and support for patriarchal beliefs.
According to the most recent data from India’s National Crime Records Bureau, over 28,000 incidences of suspected sexual assault on children were recorded in 2020. However, advocates believe the true amount is significantly higher, because rape is frequently underreported in other nations.
The alleged occurrence this month was labelled as a “human rights breach” by India’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in a statement issued on Wednesday.
Violence against women and girls on the basis of caste
The 2,000-year-old caste system in India categorizes Hindus at birth, establishing their social standing, what occupations they may do, and who they can marry.
The social hierarchy was formally abolished in 1950, but it still remains in many sections of the Hindu-majority country.
According to government estimates, Dalits make up around 201 million of India’s 1.3 billion population. They have previously been referred to as “untouchables,” and they continue to face widespread discrimination, sexual violence, and assault.
In recent years, a slew of violent crimes and sex assaults on Dalit women and girls have sparked indignation.
In August of last year, four men, including a Hindu priest, were charged with the rape and death of a 9-year-old Dalit girl in Delhi, India.
On Saturday, January 29, 2022, university students protested after a female was gang-raped in New Delhi, Kolkata, India.
The event occurred after the gang-rape and death of a 19-year-old Dalit woman in Uttar Pradesh in September 2020. Another 13-year-old Dalit girl had been raped and murdered in the state just a month before.
Two Dalit youngsters were allegedly beaten to death in 2019 after defecating in public. In 2018, a 13-year-old girl from a lower caste was allegedly decapitated in the southern state of Tamil Nadu by a higher caste attacker.
Activists and opposition politicians argue that the killings reflect a climate of hatred, fostered in part by a surge in extreme Hindu nationalism.
According to a 2020 research by the non-governmental group Equality Now, ruling castes utilise sexual assault to subjugate Dalit women and girls.
Their inquiry discovered that Dalit women and girls in Haryana’s northern state are frequently denied access to justice in situations of sexual abuse owing to a “prevalent culture of impunity, particularly when the attackers are from a dominant caste.”
The group urged the government to strengthen police accountability and execute the law more effectively in order to protect caste-based minorities.
G. Kishan Reddy, then a junior member of the Ministry of Home Affairs, stated in a written statement to parliament in March 2020 that the government was “dedicated to ensuring safety” of persons from disadvantaged castes. He further stated that in 2015, legislation were updated to increase both preventative and punitive measures for crimes against Dalits.