A shocking case has come to light which shows how the ground reality in the country’s hinterland is the complete opposite of what Lutyens’ liberals spew everyday on TV channels and opeds sections of our English-language dailies.
A village panchayat in Saharsa district of Bihar asked Sarfaraz and other gang-rape accused to pay Rs. 70,000 to the family of a 16-year-old victim belonging to a Hindu Mahadalit community to ‘settle the issue’. The family, thankfully, rejected the ‘offer’ and approached a social organisation for help as the local police station refused to entertain her case, the victim’s mother alleged.
When the matter surfaced in public domain and Sonbarsa MLA Ratnesh Sada wrote a letter to chief minister Nitish Kumar demanding action against the culprit, an FIR was registered at Mahila police station on March 2 against four accused under Section 375 (punishment for rape) and relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
Saharsa SP Lipi Singh said main accused Sarfaraz was arrested from Siliguri on Saturday, March 5 and sent to jail after he was produced in court. “After the incident came to light, he was absconding. The victim’s statement has been recorded before a magistrate on Saturday. She was sent to the Sadar Hospital for medical test,” the SP said.
Mahila police station SHO Premlata said the incident took place on February 24 evening when Sarfaraz, along with his accomplices, abducted the girl, who was returning home after attending a Jeevika’s rally, a series of rallies by women on social issues like anti-alcohol consumption.
“The victim was forcibly taken to a maize field, which was around 1.5km away from her home. Later, the girl narrated the ordeal to her mother. We are identifying those present in the village panchayat under Bathnahi police station area, which passed such a judgment on March 1,” she said.
The SP said a special investigating team under SDPO Sadar has been formed to investigate the case. “Action will also be taken against sarpanch, mukhiya and other members of the panchayat for the insensitive decree to settle the matter. The police team has been asked to identify all the members involved in the judgment,” the SP said.
Incidentally, SP Lipi Singh is the same IPS officer under whose watch a young devotee Anurag Poddar (18) was brutally shot dead in 2020 during a Durga Puja immersion procession in Munger. Lipi Singh is the daughter of JDU’s Rajya Sabha MP Ram Chandra Prasad Singh, who is also the national president of JDU and an ex-IAS officer who was CM Nitish Kumar’s principal secretary at one time. It is claimed that this political connection allowed her to escape unscathed from the investigation into the police brutality allegedly launched at her orders against Hindu devotees.
It is good that Bihar Police has assured action against the panchayat members who tried to ‘settle’ a minor’s gang-rape using blood-money type Sharia rulings seen in Islamofascist nations like Pakistan. The names of these panchayat members have not been revealed in media reports, but chances are high that they belong to the same community as the prime accused Sarfaraz.
But what action will be taken against the police officials who allegedly refused to listen to the pleas of the victim’s family? Why did it require an MLA’s intervention to get the wheels of justice turning in such a barbaric case? Why has this abhorrent crime against one of the most underprivileged sections (Mahadalit) of our society been missing, 3 weeks after it came to light, from the front pages of our self-proclaimed ‘fearless’ English-language media?