Schoolchildren participating in an awareness campaign against child sex abuse
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New Delhi: A 17-year-old girl in Maharashtra’s Beed has alleged that she was raped by 400 men, including a police constable, in the past six months. She also alleged that her father and husband sexually assaulted her multiple times since 2018.

The girl alleged she was married off at the age of 13 to a 33-year-old man, who would beat her up and sexually abuse her. She said she fled her in-laws’ house, only to be assaulted again — this time by her own father. With nowhere to go, she took to the streets, but there was no running away from men — strangers, including police constables, took turns to rape her.

Abhay Wanve, chairman of the Child Welfare Committee for Beed district, which falls under the Union Women and Child Development Ministry, told ThePrint that a woman spotted the girl having a cigarette at Ambejogai bus stand at 6 am on 7 November and reported her to social workers, who subsequently reported her to the CWC.

The girl is currently two months pregnant, and admitted at the district hospital, where CWC members are helping her get an abortion, Wanve said.

In her complaint to the police, the girl detailed the years of alleged abuse she faced.

On 8 November, Beed police registered an FIR, and since then, have booked nine people, including the girl’s father. The accused have been booked under Indian Penal Code section 376 (2) (penetrative sexual assault on a child below 16), section 376 (rape), section 354 (a) (outraging a woman’s modesty), various sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), and Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (2006).

What the girl says

A resident of Kumbephal village in Beed district, the girl lost her mother when she was eight years old.

In her complaint to the police, the minor alleged that in May 2018 — when she was in Class 7 — her father pulled her out of school and married her off to one Vishal Bhagwat Somvanshi, who was then 33 years old, in Ambejogai, and the cycle of abuse started.

“My husband used to work in Dharur while I stayed with my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law. He would come here often and forcefully have sex with me and also physically assault me,” she alleged in the complaint.

She alleged she went to her parents’ house in January 2019, but her father agreed to shelter her only on one condition — he wanted to rape his own daughter. “When I informed my father about the abuse I was facing at my in-laws, he said if I wanted to live with him, I’ll have to have sexual relations with him. He used to touch me inappropriately and sexually and physically assault me. So in June 2021, I left my house,” she said in her complaint.

After leaving her father’s house, the 17-year-old girl started living at Ambejogai bus stand, where she was allegedly raped by men who offered her food. “Fifteen days ago, I was promised food by Rishikesh Dattatreya and Hari Darade, who took me to a ground near the bus stand and repeatedly raped me,” she alleged.

In another statement to the CWC on 11 November, the girl alleged that a police constable spotted her at the bus stand and then raped her repeatedly. Wanve said the girl alleged the police constable gave her Rs 500 every time he raped her.

“She had to find a way to earn; she subsequently got trafficked. Here she claims 400 men have had sex with her,” Wanve, who recorded the girl’s statement, told ThePrint. Another constable also allegedly attempted to rape her.

Wanve said: “We took a statement from the girl on 11 November for four hours. She mentioned she was raped 2-3 times by a police constable in Ambejogai, but failed to identify him. She has given it in writing that she was raped by 400 people, but can’t identify all of them. We’re in touch with her and the police, and dealing with the case sensitively at this point.”


Also read: Why Indian justice system needs prosecutors to work with police during probe


What the FIR says

The nine people booked so far — Vishal Bhagwat Somvanshi, Rishikesh Dattatreya, Hari Darade, Ramchandra Solanki, Ashok Solanki, Sonali Surdase, Rani Solanki, Suraj Solanki and an unidentified priest — have been charged under various sections of the IPC.

According to the FIR, accessed by ThePrint, Vishal, Ramchandra, Ashok, Sonali, Rani, Suraj and the priest have been accused of arranging the marriage of the minor victim.

Rishikesh Dattatreya and Hari Darade have been accused of raping the girl, while Ashok has been accused of physically and sexually assaulting her. Vishal has been accused of repeatedly having sex with a minor.

“Looking at the sensitivity of the case, we’ve made a team comprising two female officers and a male officer to investigate the case, which is being headed by Additional Superintendent of Police, who will work alongside the Child Welfare Committee and investigate this case further so the victim can get swift justice,” Raja Ramasamy, Superintendent of Police, Beed district, said.

Responding to the claim that the girl has been sexually assaulted by 400 people and two police personnel, Ramasamy told ThePrint. “The victim made such allegations when she gave a statement before the CWC, four days after the offence was registered. Her statement before the police and (CrPC Section) 164 statements before the judge didn’t mention that she was raped by 400 men. However, we’ll verify all the facts given in the statement before CWC & take legal action accordingly,” he said.

(Edited by Neha Mahajan)


Also read: 7 men, 7 FIRs, 7 stations — how 20-yr-old woman in Gurugram filed ‘rape’ cases now under scanner


 

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