Between CM Khattar calling a double murder and gang-rape case ‘trivial’ to the Congress’ constant politicking, brutal cases remain unsolved.
New Delhi: The Haryana government has been under fire for its inability to arrest two of the three main accused in the CBSE topper gang-rape case. Nearly a week after the incident in Rewari, the police have only apprehended one of the prime accused — Nishu.
Instead, government officials and political representatives have offered a host of bizarre excuses for the failure to capture the others — Pankaj, an army jawan apparently posted in Rajasthan, and Manish.
Haryana continues to be the gang-rape capital of the country, with crimes having escalated 1.5 times since 2014. Here’s how the state has responded to other glaring instances of sexual violence against women in the recent past.
The Rohtak CBSE topper case
Speaking in Pathankot Sunday, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said: “The investigation is on and they will soon be arrested. No culprit will be spared.”
He also assured that a cheque of Rs 2 lakh had been given to the 19-year-old girl’s father.
But the girl’s father told ThePrint: “The money is of no consequence. The first priority should be that the government catches Manish and Pankaj and punishes them.”
The case got murky as the Rewari police station didn’t file an FIR promptly, citing issues of jurisdiction. Instead, it filed a ‘zero FIR’, which was then transferred to Kanina police station in Mahendragarh district. But the delay gave the accused enough time to escape, sources said.
Rewari’s superintendent of police, Rajesh Duggal, was suspended Sunday for “delay in action”, followed by the suspension of sub-inspector Hiramani Tuesday.
Targeting the government for laxity in action, former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda said the BJP government should “resign” on “moral grounds”.
Last week, BJP MLA Premlata said “unemployment” was the reason for escalating rapes in the state.
“Youth who do not have employment get frustrated and commit such (rapes) crimes,” the MLA from Haryana’s Uchana Kalan had said.
Five brutal cases — January 2018
On 12 January, a 15-year-old girl’s semi-naked body was found in Jind district, a sharp object thrust into her private parts. In an unprecedented turn of events, the main suspect in the case, Gulshan, was found dead a few days later.
Then, a shocking case of necrophilia came to light in Panipat. An 11-year-old was allegedly killed and then gang-raped on the night of 13 January. Two days later, police arrested two of her neighbours, who confessed to the crime. According Jagdeep Singh, DSP Panipat HQ, a charge sheet has already been filed against the accused.
On the same day, 13 January, a 22 year-old woman was allegedly gang-raped in a moving car in Faridabad. A case of abduction and rape was registered and an SIT was formed to look into the probe. Three accused were arrested by 19 January by a special investigation team formed by the Faridabad police.
On 16 January, a 15-year-old boy allegedly raped a-three-and-a-half-year-old girl in Hisar. The juvenile was booked by the police on 17 January.
A 20-year-old married woman was allegedly raped by two men in Fatehabad on 18 January. While the SP had assured that the two accused would be arrested soon, there is no clarity on the status of the case. The SP was unavailable for comment.
Amidst all these cases, on 15 January, Congress leader Hooda had said there was a complete “breakdown of law and order in the state”.
“This government has failed on all fronts. The law and order situation has completely broken down. Children are neither safe in schools nor in their homes. Such heinous crimes are increasing, but the government seems to be in slumber,” he had said.
CM Khattar replied on 18 January, saying: “I am hurt at the cases of rape… request the opposition parties not to resort to politics on these crimes.”
Rohtak gang-rape and murder — May 2017
A young woman was brutally raped and murdered just miles away from the national capital. Her skull was bashed in and sharp objects inserted into her private parts.
The family claimed they had approached the police earlier with a complaint about the accused. While the police arrested two of the main accused, they suspected the involvement of at least six others.
Haryana DGP B.S. Sandhu said it was a “heinous crime against humanity and women”.
“We will endeavour to get the case decided within three months and appeal for strictest punishment to the accused,” Sandhu had said.
Two days later, three police officers, two assistant sub-inspectors, and the station house officer of Sonipat City were suspended.
The victim’s brother was later accused of raping a widow, and was found murdered in August.
The case is still pending in a fast-track court.
Mewat gang-rape and murder — August 2016
A Muslim couple was murdered and their two nieces were allegedly gang-raped in Mewat in August 2016. Three days later, the police arrested four men from the area, one of whom was suspected to be a member of a cow vigilante group.
The police finally filed a charge sheet in November 2016. But the CM branded the double murder and double gang-rape a “trivial issue”.
“These are trivial issues and I don’t pay much attention to these small issues. Today, we should be talking about Swarna Jayanti,” Khattar said at event to commemorate the golden jubilee of Haryana’s statehood on 1 November.
On 31 January, 2017, the CBI dismissed “beef” angle, but the probe still continues.
Nepali woman gang-rape and murder — February 2015
This is one of the few prominent cases that has seen resolution.
A mentally-challenged Nepali woman was raped and murdered and her body was dumped on the Rohtak-Hisar highway. The incident, which came to light on 4 February, triggered mass outrage and a slew of protests from civil society.
The opposition did not waste time in targeting the government. Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the Haryana government was yet “to wake up from its slumber”.
Nine days later, the police apprehended eight men and a juvenile for the crime.
CM Khattar had said: “All efforts are being made to arrest the remaining accused and there is no laxity on part of the police to solve this case.”
The quantum of punishment was pronounced 10 months later, after the case was tried by a special court. Seven were sentenced to death, one committed suicide in prison, while the juvenile was tried separately. The juvenile was sentenced to three years in prison and released in February 2018.