A 17-year-old Dalit girl, who had eloped with her boyfriend, was allegedly gang-raped by three college students in the wee hours of Sunday in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur.
The incident took place in front of the survivor’s boyfriend, who was also thrashed by the accused. The police arrested the three accused shortly after the incident, PTI reported.
According to police officials, the accused were associated with a student leader canvassing for a ticket from the student wing of the RSS, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). However, the ABVP denied any links with the accused.
Upon learning about the incident in his hometown, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot spoke with the Director General of Police (DGP), Umesh Mishra, and instructed him to ensure that the accused received strict punishment. Gehlot commended the promptness with which the police made the arrests and assured that his government would ensure justice for the survivor by securing the harshest possible punishment for the perpetrators.
The girl and her boyfriend had eloped from Ajmer and arrived in Jodhpur late on Saturday night. After encountering misbehaviour from the caretaker of a guest house, they went to Paota Chauraha, where they were confronted by the three accused — Samandar Singh Bhati, Dharmpal Singh, and Bhattam Singh, aged 20-22.
The accused befriended the couple, offering them food and drinks. When the girl and her boyfriend shared their situation, the accused assured them of help.
At around 4 am, the accused took the couple to the hockey ground at the old campus of Jai Narayan Vyas University (JNVU), claiming it was the way to the railway station. However, upon reaching the ground, they attacked the boy and held him hostage, while each of them took turns raping the girl. As morning walkers began arriving at the campus, the accused fled the scene. The girl’s boyfriend sought help from the walkers, who then informed the police.
Police swiftly initiated a search for the accused, aided by a dog squad and a Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) team. After a few hours, the accused were traced to a house in Ganeshpura near Ratanada in Jodhpur. They attempted to escape but sustained injuries during the process. Two of them fractured their legs, while the third suffered an injury to the hand. After receiving medical treatment, all three were arrested.
The accused were identified as Samandar Singh, a first-year student at JNVU, Dharm Pal Singh, a post-graduate student at JNVU, and Bhattam Singh, who was pursuing B.Ed from Ajmer. Additionally, the guest house caretaker was also arrested for allegedly misbehaving with the girl.
A comprehensive FIR has been filed, encompassing both the incident at the guest house and the gangrape at the hockey ground. It includes relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, the Indian Penal Code, and the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
Following the incident, ABVP National Secretary Hushiyar Meena said, “The ABVP demands the strictest punishment for the accused. The law-and-order situation of Rajasthan is deteriorating day by day and the safety of university campuses is being neglected by the Congress government.”
Chief Minister Gehlot expressed concern over the involvement of individuals associated with the BJP and its organizations in rape cases in Jodhpur and Datia, Madhya Pradesh. “Due to such incidents, the character and face of the BJP have been exposed”, he added.
The chief minister pledged that regardless of the accused’s influence, the state government would impose the harshest punishment to deliver justice for the girl. He further called out BJP President JP Nadda for maintaining silence on these incidents, indicating a lack of seriousness within the party regarding women’s safety.
In Jaipur, Abhishek Choudhary, the president of the Congress-affiliated National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), announced that the group would submit a representation to the governor on Monday, expressing their concerns about the ABVP.
“This incident is a blot on humanity. The strictest action should be taken against the accused. We will hand over a representation to the governor against the polluted ideology of ABVP,” he added.
Meanwhile, Archana Sharma, Congress leader and Chairperson of the Social Welfare Board praised the police for their prompt action, highlighting the state government’s commitment to women’s safety.
Courtesy : The Financial Express