The Indian Air Force has taken custody of a Flight Lieutenant who was accused of rape by a colleague at the Air Force Administrative College (AFAC) in Coimbatore. In her complaint, the victim alleged that her seniors at the IAF had compelled her to withdraw the complaint against Amitesh Harmukh.
Police said that the 28-year-old woman had approached them as she was not happy with the way action was taken internally. "The IAF sought the custody of the accused and looks like the court has also agreed to it. I will get a clearer picture once I get the court order copy," Coimbatore City Police Commissioner Deepak D Damor told The Indian Express.
Two-Finger Test Conducted
The woman officer has also alleged that the two-finger test was conducted at the Air Force Hospital, which is now banned. She had filed the complaint on September 20, following which the accused was arrested on September 25.
The woman said that she and Harmukh were undergoing a training programme at the AFAC. She allegedly got an ankle injury during her training on September 9 and took painkillers. Later in the evening, she joined a party along with other officers at a bar. At the party, Harmukh got drunk and entered her room late at night after she had passed out. While alleging she did not remember anything, her friends had found Harmukh in her room, acting suspiciously.
As per the FIR, the accused then contacted the alleged victim's two friends, who later recorded his confession accepting sexual acts while the woman was unconscious.
Pressure From Seniors
After approaching her seniors, she alleged that she was asked to either file a complaint or give in writing that whatever happened that night was consensual.
After filing her complaint, she was sent to the Air Force Hospital by the wing commanders for the two-finger test. The next day, she was summoned by a Group Captain, named the presiding officer of the inquiry in her case, and a Wing Commander.
The alleged victim said she was traumatised after seeing the accused carry on his activities as if nothing had happened. After asking an instructor about when Harmukh would leave the training programme, she recalls being told, "If I could bear with my ankle pain, I could bear with the pain of seeing my rapist sit in my class too".
On the intervening night of September 15 and 16, the woman had a panic attack and was taken to the Air Force Hospital. This is when she decided to go to the police.
Meanwhile, National Commission for Women chairperson Rekha Sharma wrote to the Air Chief Marshal on Thursday, September 30, and strongly condemned the two-finger test on the woman, saying it violates the Supreme Court decision and "the right to privacy and dignity of the victim".