A Muslim man in Kannauj tried to rape a minor by enticing her with toffees, Dainik Jagran has reported. People came to rescue the girl when she cried for help, but the perpetrator managed to run away. When the accused’s father was taken into custody instead, the accused surrendered to the police in the evening. The neighborhood is tense after the incident.
Mother of the victim, who is a resident of Khanpur village of Talgram Police Station area in Kannauj, UP told that her seven-year-old daughter is a student of class 2 in primary school. When she went out to relieve herself on night of 26th February, her neighbor Salman enticed her by offering a toffee and took her away. When he tried to rape her in a nearby hut, the girl started screaming. People around ran to help her. The girl was rescued in a bewildered state, but the perpetrator ran away from the scene. The girl was then taken to her home.
UP-100 police team arrived at the scene after getting the information of the incident. When the accused wasn’t found, the police took his father into custody. SHO Tarik Khan said that it’s a case of molestation and not of rape. The report has been filed according to the complaint. The accused has surrendered to the police after his father was taken into custody. Strict action will be taken, he said.
Attempt to Suppress the case? Victim’s Mother Issues Warning
By next morning, news about the incident spread like wildfire in the village, and tension grew between Hindus and Muslims neighbours. It is alleged that police tried to suppress the case at first, and that statement of the victim’s mother kept changing. But the girl’s mother has threatened to commit suicide if strict action isn’t taken against the perpetrator.
The police didn’t register any case from Monday night through the whole day Tuesday, citing no written complaint as an excuse. Then, the police said it was a case of attempted rape. Finally, they are saying a case will be lodged on molestation charges. Villagers seemed evasive and tight-lipped about the issue.
No Delhi-based media or NGOs will descend on this UP village to press for justice or file PILs in Higher Courts, as such cases upset the ‘secular narrative’.
We hope that UP admin and police higher-ups ask some tough questions off SHO Tarik Khan, to explain why he believes the charges against the accused Salman should be watered down to just ‘chedchad’ (molestation)? Such a charge will attract section 354 or 509 of IPC, i.e. ‘outraging modesty of a woman’ which carries a maximum punishment of 2 years, while charge of rape under section 376 IPC carries minimum punishment of 7 years.
Our rape laws were modified after the horrific Nirbhaya gang-rape in 2012, but even those welcome changes have failed to deter perpetrators. Moreover, our laws and legal fraternity in general seem rooted to Victorian mores – for eg., what ‘modesty’ does a 7-year-old have? It is time to undertake comprehensive legal, judicial and police reform to shed colonial attitudes and bring about a system which is rooted, modern & responsive.