A 20-year-old Hindu girl named Trushna Rani Nath, a resident of Mirzapur Nathasahi village in Bhadrak district, Odisha, committed suicide after being molested by 65-year-old Muskin Sheikh, reported Rashtra Jyoti, a media initiative by Swati Goel Sharma and Sanjeev Newar. According to the report, Muskin Sheikh is a powerful, influential and well-connected person because of which the police have been protecting the accused.
The victim and her family were reportedly threatened with dire consequences by Muskin Sheikh and his sons after the police acted against Sheikh, following a complaint filed by the victim. Sheikh was arrested, however, released on bail a few days later.
Even though local social and political groups have rallied behind the victim’s family, the tragic case of Trushna Rani Nath from Odisha has received scant coverage in the media https://t.co/H7vLnAffgb— Swati Goel Sharma (@swati_gs) August 23, 2021
The victim’s father told the media that they are being pressurised by the police to take back their complaint against the accused. The Odisha police cited the high profile contacts of Shiekh to intimidate them.
Though the police arrested Muskin Shiekh once again after Trushna Rani Nath’s suicide, her family alleged that the police continue to shield the accused and are cooking up fake stories about Trushna.
Narrating what had transpired, Trushna’s father Rajendra Nath said 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.
Trushna requested the elderly shopkeeper for five rupees worth of chocolates, but he urged her to take them out of the box herself. The shopkeeper, 65-year-old Muskin, grabbed her hand and dragged her into a narrow tunnel beside his shop as soon as she put her hand into the box. Trushna raised an alarm, but Muskin raised the volume of the music playing in his shop to muzzle her voice, 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,” said the distraught father in his choked voice.
Trushna’s friends were worried when she did not return for long and began looking for her. Trushna’s desperate shouts were finally heard by her friends, who rushed to the shop. The accused was seen clutching Trushna’s neck and covering her lips with his hands. The two girls screamed for aid and, in desperation, struck Muskin with their slippers, forcing Muskin to let her go.
The father confirmed that whatever information he was sharing was based on what he was told by his daughter. The victim’s friends, who had rescued her from Muskin Sheikh had also testified the father’s statement.
The aggrieved father further added that the accused had warned Trushna to not disclose what happened with her. He threatened to kill Trushna’s family members if she didn’t pay heed to his demands, reminisced the father.
Trushna narrated her ordeal to her mother Basanti Nath, who in turn, informed Rajendra after he returned home from work.
Nath filed an FIR (number 0264/2021) at Purana Bazar Police Station after learning about the incident.
On the basis of Trushna’s statement, the police arrested Muskin and charged him with violating sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 323 (voluntarily causing harm), and 354 (outraging a woman’s modesty) of the Indian Penal Code, said the father adding that this was just the beginning of their predicaments.
Odisha police protecting the accused, asking victim’s family to compromise
On one side the Odisha police were pressurising the victim’s family to take back the complaint and settle the matter with the accused’s family which was ready to compensate them monetarily and on the other side, Muskin’s sons Sameer and Tunnu kept threatening them with dire consequences had they not taken back their complaint.
Rajendra Nath recalled how the threats became more frequent after Muskin was let out on bail. When the threats became an everyday affair, Trushna could not handle the pressure and took the drastic decision of ending her life on August 8th morning.
The distressed father said that since Muskin was re-arrested after Trushna’s death under IPC section 306 (abetment of suicide), the police has been concocting various stories to defame Trushna and absolve Muskin from the crime.
He said 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, however, said the theory is false as Trushna did not even possess a mobile phone.
Police inspector Prakash Chandra Prusty who is probing the case refused to respond to queries regarding allegations levelled by Rajendra.
After the news spread, many Hindu outfits, including Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) protested and held candlelight marches to ensure justice for Trushna.