Ranchi: A 35-year-old tribal woman in Jharkhand’s Dumka has been allegedly gang-raped by 17 men when she was returning home from a market with her husband.
The incident took place late Tuesday evening in Ghasipur village, police said.
In her statement to the police, the woman, a mother of five, said she could identify only one of the accused as the incident happened in the night.
The accused has been identified as Ramu Mohli, 34, a resident of Golpur village. He has been arrested, while the police have launched a search to nab the other accused.
According to local media reports, the accused men accosted the couple when they were returning home from a local haat in Ghasipur around 8 pm. The men threatened the couple by brandishing a knife and then forcibly took the woman inside a forest by tying up her husband. The woman was then raped by 17 men, most of whom were in a drunken state, according to the police.
When the couple reached home late in the night, she and her husband informed the villagers about the incident, following which the matter was reported to the local police station and an FIR was lodged Wednesday. The couple lives in Golpur village.
The National Commission for Women (NCW) has written to the Jharkhand DGP, asking the state police to complete probe in the case in two months, and seeking an action taken report.
Report of second medical test awaited
Dumka’s DIG Sudarshan Kumar Mandal is investigating the case. At a press conference Wednesday, the DIG said a medical examination of the woman was being carried out.
The DIG also said the woman is constantly changing her versions of the incident, and, therefore, the matter is being investigated carefully.
Dumka SP Ambar Lakra told ThePrint the woman’s initial medical examination was done, but it didn’t reveal any injury. Therefore, a special team has been formed to hold a further examination and its report is still awaited, the SP added.
BJP targets Soren govt, RJD condemns incident
Meanwhile, the incident invited severe flak from the opposition.
At a press conference late Wednesday, former minister and BJP leader Louis Marandi attacked the Hemant Soren government, saying it should be ashamed of itself for being unable to end growing incidents of rape in his state.
Marandi said atrocities against women in Santhal Parganas have increased considerably under this government. The BJP also held sit-in demonstrations in Dumka as well as in state capital Ranchi to protest against the incident.
Dumka is a JMM stronghold and represented by Chief Minister Hemant Soren’s brother Basant Soren. The CM himself had also won from this seat earlier.
RJD leader Shivanand Tiwari also reacted strongly to the incident.
“No one could’ve ever imagined that a girl/woman would ever be raped in a tribal area. There was no rape in the tribal culture but the consumerist culture that began to bring in modernism, presented women as articles for consumption,” he told ANI.
The government has not responded to the criticism, or issued any statement on the case yet.
No one could've ever imagined that a girl/woman would ever be raped in a tribal area. There was no rape in the tribal culture but the consumerist culture that began to bring in modernism, presented women as articles for consumption: Shivanand Tiwari, RJD on Dumka alleged gangrape pic.twitter.com/bqXoqmf0Em
— ANI (@ANI) December 10, 2020
Meanwhile, the National Commission for Women (NCW) has taken suo motu cognisance of the incident.
“NCW chairperson writes to Jharkhand DGP seeking adherence to guidelines of MHA of completing probe in 2 months in the case of sexual assault. NCW also seeks detailed action taken report in the case,” the ANI tweeted.
Dumka gang-rape: National Commission for Women takes suo motu cognizance of the case. NCW Chairperson writes to Jharkhand DGP seeking adherence to guidelines of MHA of completing probe in 2 months in cases of sexual assault. NCW also seeks detailed action taken report in the case https://t.co/nId8igMbvn pic.twitter.com/jvzHS42PzC
— ANI (@ANI) December 10, 2020
1,359 rapes from January to September this year
According to the Jharkhand Police website, the state recorded a total of 1,359 rapes from January to September this year.
As many as 151 rapes were reported in January alone, followed by 142 in February, 150 in March, 104 in April, 169 in May, 176 in June, 141 in July, 160 in August and 166 in September.
From January 2018 to December 2019, Jharkhand reported 2,938 rapes.
According to Reshma, the Jharkhand head of NGO Ali that works for women, a total of 4,550 rape cases were registered in the state from 2014 to 2017. She said the data was taken from the Jharkhand CID.
This shows a total of 7,488 cases have been registered from 2014 to 2019.
Meanwhile, the One Stop Centre, started after the 2012 Delhi gangrape to support women affected by violence, also didn’t seem to work. When ThePrint called the Dumka centre, a woman picked up the phone and said she had handed over the charge to someone else three months ago.