The girl in Delhi was only seven years old when she was raped on 21st Aug 2016 by four men (one of them claiming to be a juvenile). The girl was sleeping outside her house when she was abducted, taken to a jungle area and gang-raped.
After the horrific Nirbhaya rape case that shook the nation, we expected some change in our justice system. But, this 7-year-old victim journey to obtain justice tells us that at the ground level nothing much has changed. Activists who work at the ground level with the victims say that even the level of basic investigation has not changed much. Investigating officers are not properly trained, and they are not aware of the procedures or guidelines to be followed. Senior level officers who are aware of the proper procedures do not get involved leaving the investigation to lower level officers.
Even the FIR was not written properly, and the names of the accused were left blank in the FIR. Access to the FIR was also initially denied. Here the victim is from an economically poor background. Her mother is a daily wage worker, and her father is suffering from TB. How are they supposed to know the legal procedures? How are they supposed to know if police registered FIR properly?
According to the supreme court guidelines pertaining to sexual crime against minors, video recording of the victim’s statement to the magistrate has to be made. Even after requesting the Investigating officer to video record the statement it was not done. “Maybe the girl has to do it all over again,” said Junior Anand Gupta who is helping the victim get justice.
Mr Gupta is documenting everything a victim has to go through to get justice in India (three years after Nirbhaya). He shared in one of his Facebook posts on how the victim who is 7-years-old had to go to the notorious Tihar Jail. She had to go there to identify her rapists from a police line-up. The victim along with her mother had to wait for 4 hours. They waited outside with no shade. Such incidents further tell us that officials still lack sensitivity in handling such cases.
One of the accused is claiming to be a juvenile, victims lawyer fear that he might be granted bail. He did not produce a birth certificate and the scientific tests to determine age like bone ossification has a margin of error of about two years. They are now hoping that he be tried as an adult as recent amendment post-Nirbhaya provides such an option in cases which are heinous in nature.
Junior Anand Gupta, along with a lawyer and few volunteers, is now working with the child so that she and her family gets justice. He has personally contributed money and time to fight for her. He requests support from our society in any way possible to help this brave little girl. Anyone who wants to support his fight can reach him through Facebook. His Facebook link is Junior Anand Gupta
The Logical Indian team appreciates Junior Anand Gupta and other volunteers who are fighting to put guilty behind bars. If a 7-year-old rape victim is denied justice, we can consider our system a failed one. We hope this little girl gets the justice she deserves and emerges much stronger.