20-year-old Trushna Rani Nath committed suicide after she was molested by 65-year-old Muskin Sheikh in Odisha’s Bhadrak district. As per reports, the accused is well-connected and powerful as a result of which the police are alleged to be shielding him.
Trushna Rani resides at Mirzapur Nathasahi village and paid with her life for standing up to her oppressors. Trushna and her family were threatened with dire consequences by Sheikh and his sons after the molester was arrested by the police following a complaint filed by the victim.
Trushna’s father informed the media that they were facing pressure from police officials to withdraw their complaint. citing high-placed contacts of the accused. It must be noted that the accused was released on bail a few days after being arrested. Trushna’s suicide has led to Sheikh being taken into custody once again. Trushna’s family, however, says that the police continue to shield the accused and are cooking up fake stories about Trushna.
Rashtra Jyoti quotes Trushna’s father Rajendra Nath and says:
On 2 August, Trushna had gone along with two of her friends Debina and Rubi Nath to a Shiva temple in the Purana Bazar area around nine in the morning. On her way home Trushna decided to buy chocolates for her two younger sisters from a nearby paan shop. It was a hot day and Trushna asked her friends to wait under a tree till she returned.
When Trushna asked the aged shopkeeper to give her chocolates for five rupees, the man told her to take them out of the box herself. As soon as she put her hand into the box, the shopkeeper — 65-year-old Muskin — grabbed her hand and dragged her into a narrow passage beside his shop. Trushna raised an alarm, but Muskin raised the volume of the music playing in his shop, and Trushna’s cries for help got drowned in the din, said Rajendra.
“He (Muskin) touched my daughter inappropriately and tried to rape her. He tried to do bad things with her. She screamed and shouted for help but he covered her face with his hands,” a distraught Rajendra said, his voice choking.
With Trushna taking an unusually long time to return, her friends got worried and started looking for her. Trushna’s frantic screams finally reached her friends’ ears and they rushed to the shop. They saw Muskin holding Trushna by the neck, covering her mouth with his hands. The two girls shouted for help and as a desperate measure, hit Muskin with their slippers, which forced Muskin to let go of Trushna.
Rajendra said his version is based on what the girl told him after returning home. He said he also inquired with Trushna’s two friends, and they testified to the version.
Rajendra further informed that Sheikh had warned Trushna to keep quiet on the incident and threatened to kill her family members if she didn’t heed his words. When an undaunted Trushna, however, refused to comply, Sheikh allegedly vowed to make her life hell.
Trushna narrated her ordeal to her mother Basanti Nath who in turn informed Rajendra after he returned home from work. Nath works in paddy fields in addition to supplying bread to nearby grocery shops. After learning about the incident, Nath got an FIR (number 0264/2021) registered at Purana Bazar Police Station.
The police took Muskin into custody on the basis of Trushna’s statement and booked under accused under sections 341(wrongful restraint), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), and 354 (outraging a woman’s modesty) of the IPC as well as section 12 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
However, the ordeal of Trushna and her family had only just begun. As per Rajendra’s statement to the media, the police allegedly asked him to settle for monetary compensation stating that the accused was an influential person who had six sons and going ahead with the case would only put Trushna and her family at risk.
Sheikh’s sons Sameer and Tunnu had been threatening the family to withdraw the case even when the accused was in jail. However, the threats became more frequent after Muskin was let out on bail. When the threats became an everyday affair, Trushna took the extreme step and ended her life on the morning of 8 August.
Rajendra, who was away in the fields, rushed home on learning of the incident but Trushna was dead by then. He then informed the police who rearrested Sheikh after pressing charges of abetment to suicide under IPC section 306. Rajendra said in his statement in the new FIR (number 0269/2021 filed on August 8) that his daughter was not able to bear the mental torture that she was put through and, as a result, had committed suicide.
The family belongs to the OBC class and is financially quite weak to take on a well-connected Sheikh. Rajendra has also accused the police of defaming his deceased daughter by stating that she had committed suicide due to a failed affair.
Rajendra added that the police have been trying hard to prove that Trushna was in love with a boy with whom she was in touch over mobile and finally took her life when things didn’t work out. Rajendra says the theory is false as Trushna did not even possess a mobile phone. Police officer Prakash Chandra Prusty who is handling the case refused to respond to queries regarding allegations leveled by Rajendra.
Local social and political activists have stepped forward to support Trushna’s family and are demanding justice for Trushna. Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and other Hindu groups have held candlelight marches to ensure justice for Trushna. Tukuna Sawain, a local activist, has said that they would approach the high court to demand a fair inquiry in the case so that justice is served.
(Featured Image Source: Rashtra Jyoti)
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