On Wednesday (January 26), a 20-year-old woman was kidnapped, gang-raped, shaved and paraded on the streets of Kasturba Nagar in Shahdara district of Delhi. As per reports, the victim’s face was blackened and she was coerced into wearing a garland of slippers. The heinous crime was orchestrated by her neighbours over a case of personal enmity.
#NewDelhi: In a shocking incident, a woman was allegedly attacked by a group of people, including women, who chopped off her hair, tore her clothes, blackened her face, and then paraded her in the Shahdara area. The woman was also allegedly sexually assaulted. pic.twitter.com/ldYNWLULPU— IANS Tweets (@ians_india) January 27, 2022
In a video that has now surfaced on social media, the victim was seen being assaulted with a stick and a leather belt. One of the women proceeded to chop the victim’s hair. Another woman in the background yelled, “L*nd daal muh mein (Put your pen*s into her mouth).” A minor boy, who had earlier hit the victim with a belt, then proceeded to shove his private part into her mouth.
The face of the 20-year-old was blackened and her head was tonsured. She was garlanded with shoes, shamed and paraded on the streets of Kasturba Nagar. As the women surrounding the victim continued to throw blows at the her, their actions were cheered on by the spectators.
A video of the incident was shared by the Chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) Swati Maliwal. She tweeted, “I am issuing a notice to the Delhi Police. All criminals (both men and women) should be arrested and the girl and the victim’s family should be given security.”
कस्तूरबा नगर में 20 साल की लड़की का अवैध शराब बेचने वालों द्वारा गैंगरेप किया गया, उसे गंजा कर, चप्पल की माला पहना पूरे इलाक़े में मुँह काला करके घुमाया। मैं दिल्ली पुलिस को नोटिस जारी कर रही हूँ। सब अपराधी आदमी औरतों को अरेस्ट किया जाए और लड़की और उसके परिवार को सुरक्षा दी जाए। pic.twitter.com/4ExXufDaO3— Swati Maliwal (@SwatiJaiHind) January 27, 2022
The Background of the Shahdara gangrape Case
A teenager by the name of Ayush Nahariya (15-16 years old) was supposedly in love with the victim. He used to stalk her regularly. In a bid to get the attention of the woman, he had even proposed to her. However, his proposal was turned down.
While speaking to Newslaundry, the victims’ 18-year-old sister informed, “My sister got married in 2018. Ayush fell in love with her. He used to keep calling and asking her to leave her husband and be with him. She would always refuse.” Dejected, the boy committed suicide by jumping in front of a train on November 12 last year.
A police official informed, “We have been told that one of the family members of the accused, aged around 15 or 16 years, was stalking the woman and also proposed to her, which she rejected. On November 12 last year, he left home and allegedly committed suicide by jumping in front of a train. The family blamed the woman and wanted revenge.”
Ayush’s family thereafter began blaming the victim for his death. Four relatives of the deceased namely Lucky, Manjeet, Akshay and Karan began threatening her. They also issued rape threats to the victim’s 18-year-old sister. Forced by circumstances, she informed the police about it.
“I have called the police two to three times when this happened. I went to the Vivek Vihar station and filed a complaint also once. Once the police came and warned the men but nothing happened. I never thought they would do this to us,” the victim’s sister recounted.
A week prior to the abduction and rape, the four men sabotaged the livelihood of the victim’s father by setting fire to the auto-rickshaw that he rented for ₹300 a day. Her aunt was also assaulted by relatives of Ayush. Manjeet, who was apparently in ‘love’ with the victim’s sister, had also threatened of dire consequences over phone calls.
“These people say that they aren’t scared of policemen… They sell liquor and that’s how they run their house… I am in danger. They give me death threats… I stay in fear and don’t step out of my house,” read the complaint by the victim’s sister to the police.
What happened on January 26, 2022?
On January 26, 2022, the victim was at her house with her 2-year-old child. Manjeet, Karan, Akshay and Lucky barged into the house and kidnapped the victim in an auto. Her 18-year-old sister, who had come to hand over a sack of wheat, was a witness to the abduction.
She told NewsLaundry, “When I reached (her house), my sister came down. Immediately, the men put her in their auto and sped away. They snatched my phone as well. I grabbed my sister’s baby and rushed back home.” On returning to her own house, she saw her sister being beaten publicly on the other lane of the street.
After witnessing her sister in such a helpless state, the 18-year-old went to her neighbour’s house to call the police. According to her, the cops arrived in 10-15 minutes, rescued the victim and escorted her to the Shahdara police station.
“I spoke to my sister for a few minutes before they took her away. In that time, she told me mere saath galat hua hai (They have ‘wronged’ me)“, the victim’s sister narrated.
Police action in the Shahdara gangrape case
The victim told the police that a group of men locked her inside a room and gang-raped her after being instigated by other women. She recounted being assaulted with sticks, garlanded with slippers and paraded in full public glare.
While speaking about the matter to The Indian Express, the Shahdara police informed that they received a call about the incident at about 1 pm on January 26. “Our team rushed to the spot and found that a group of people were parading a woman on the streets and beating her up. We rescued the woman and took her to the police station, where her statement was recorded,” stated DCP R Sathiyasundaram.
He added, “They put their private parts on her mouth to defame her…The men did this to her in front of their mother, aunt and other women in the family.” A First Information Report (FIR) was lodged against 11 people under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections pertaining to physical and sexual assault, illegal confinement, abduction and gangrape
Sexual assault on a woman in Delhi’s Shahdara: A total of 11 people, including 9 women, arrested. Nine out of the 11 accused who are named in the FIR, have been arrested. Delhi Police say that more arrests will be made soon.— ANI (@ANI) January 28, 2022
The cops conducted a medical examination, recorded the statement of the victim and shifted her to a ‘safe house in Delhi.’ So far, the Delhi police have arrested 11 people in the case including 9 women and 2 underage boys.
NCW takes cognisance of the matter, demands action
After the videos went viral on social media, National Commission for Women (NCW) took cognisance of the matter. NCW chief Rekha Sharma wrote to the Delhi Police Commissioner, seeking immediate arrest of the accused and providing security to the victim.
“The Commission has prima facie observed that the crime attracts following provisions of the IPC, 1860: Section 376D (gang rape), 506 (criminal intimidation), 352 (assault), 509 (word/gesture to outrage modesty of a woman),” read the letter.
It added, “The Commission is distressed with the abysmal alleged incident and the cruelty perpetrated on the victim is highly condemnable in strongest possible words. You are, therefore, required to look into the matter and ensure that all the accused are arrested immediately and booked under the relevant/appropriate (above-mentioned provisions of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 along-with other relevant provisions of the law.
National Commission for Women (NCW) takes cognizance of the assault on an alleged rape victim in Delhi’s Shahdara, writes to Delhi Police Commissioner for ensuring immediate arrest of accused & security to the victim family pic.twitter.com/KgSiERbFko— The Times Of India (@timesofindia) January 27, 2022
“The victim must be provided with best medical treatment and also, necessary measures must be taken for safety and security to the victim and her family. As per provision 357-A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the victim is entitled to compensation as per the Victim Compensation Scheme of the State. Therefore, the process of compensation must be expedited so that the victim can get financial assistance as per her requirement,” Rekha Sharma added.
Shahdara – Hotbed of bootleggers and criminals
The Indian Express reported that Shahdara has become a hub for petty criminals, smack sellers, and bootleggers. Despite the best efforts of the Delhi police to maintain the law and order situation in the area, they are often attacked by locals.
Retired DCP LN Rao informed the newspaper about the lawlessness in the area even during his tenure. “We tried to arrest criminals but they have attacked my colleagues many times. Women are at the front and don’t fear the law. Most of the houses there have members who are involved in bootlegging. It is difficult. I also feel that the district police should have been more active in this case and increased deployment,” he said.
While speaking about the Shahdara gang rape case, a woman from the locality informed that the family of the accused hold a lot of influence in the area. “Everyone fears them because they sell liquor and drugs. The police booth here is always vacant and officers don’t take our complaints,” she said.