July 31st, 2017
A 12-year-old girl was abducted, gagged and tied up and subjected to brutal physical and sexual assault for almost 30 minutes by a gang of six minor boys near K R Puram railway station on 10 July, as reported by Bangalore Mirror. However, the Ramamurthy police station has denied filing an FIR under the hard-hitting Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POSCO) Act dismissing the entire case to be that of ‘eve-teasing’ in spite of medical reports stating it to be a case of assault.
“We went to Ramamurthy Nagar police station on 11 July. A policeman wrote down what we had told him and asked us to sign. He gave us a slip of paper as an acknowledgment. We were under the impression it was a FIR copy, but we came to know it was not a FIR after ten days,” said the survivor’s mother to Bangalore Mirror.
The survivor and her parents, who are daily wage labourers, were hell-bent on getting justice. However, they have been subjected to a lot of harassment by the police.
The ordeal they were put through
The family had to make multiple trips to the police station since the day of the incident but each time the police skirted the issue claiming that they would teach the accused a lesson without arresting him.
The family was made to sit for long hours at the police station, on one occasion till 11:30 and the survivor had repeatedly been questioned by male officers about the details of the accident – it was only for a brief period that a female police officer talked to her.
The police later ended up arresting two people who were not involved in the case. Even though the girl had already identified the culprits through a Facebook photograph, the police did not pay any heed to her.
Speaking to the Bangalore Mirror, a former state public prosecutor, S Doreraju slammed the police for not immediately registering a case of rape and aggravated sexual assault under the Pocso Act, as also for not collecting material evidence from the crime scene, and subjecting the survivor to a medical examination.
“If a male officer has questioned the girl, it is again illegal. According to the Pocso Act, a female officer should assist the investigating officer, and only she should ask the girl. The parents or the girl shouldn’t have been kept in the police station for that long. Instead, the police should have met them in a private place in plain clothes,” Doreraju added.
Kripa Amar Alva, the chairperson of the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, told Bangalore Mirror, “We have already taken cognizance of the case and will record the girl’s statement before moving ahead.”
The police have, however, claimed that the delay in registering an FIR was because of the misleading and changing statements that the girl was giving to the police. They also said that it was not the girl but the survivor’s mother who was called to the police station to verify the reports. She did not want to come in late so the concerned police officer S R Chandradara went to their place and took her statement.
The Logical Indian community staunchly condemns the apathetic attitude of the police on a sensitive issue like this. It has been highly inappropriate on the part of the officials to put the survivor and her family through such a traumatic experience. In spite of the existence of a law like Posco, the harassment of the family is unacceptable. We urge the concerned authorities to sit up and take immediate actions in this case so that the accused do not go scot-free.