PUCL Bulletin, August 2001

14-year old victim of police rape and torture demands justice

National Human Rights Commission vide its case number 99/19/2001-2002 dated 28.5.01has issued notice to Director General of Police Punjab, to look into the communication by INSAAF International. The DGP is required to send his report within two weeks of receipt of this notice of NHRC. Further directions are given to furnish report by the authority, which is called upon to do so. In case of default the commission may proceed to take action, as it deems proper.

INSAAF had sent photocopies of the newspaper cuttings of an English daily to the National Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Women, Chief Justice Supreme Court, Chief Justice Punjab and Haryana High Court, Home Minister of India and various National and International human rights bodies about the role of Punjab police and Chairperson, Punjab State Commission for Women, Ms. Surinder Kaur Grewal in case of torture of a rape victim by Patiala Police.

According to media reports a 14 years old girl alleging abduction and rape for six days was tortured by Patiala police by giving her electric shocks behind her ears. The victim and her family ran from pillar to post, met police officials and Chairperson Punjab State Commission for Women to get justice. Unable to get any justice from them the victim tried to meet the Chief Minister, S. Parkash Singh Badal at Sangat Darshan held at Samana on 30.4.01. She was prevented from meeting Chief Minister by the Chairperson and police officials present at the venue of Sangat Darshan of Chief Minister.

The victim was escorted back to her residence in a police gypsy. Chairperson confirmed that the minor victim had clear torture marks behind her ears. It was shocking that she found it sufficient to 'reprimand' the police officials for this barbaric act. Strangely enough chairperson gave 'not to sensationalize the matter' and 'good intentions' of the police officials at the helm in the district as reasons for restraining the victim from meeting the Chief Minister. This episode puts a question mark on the credibility of statutory commissions and how and who are entrusted with protection of human rights by the government. It also exposes the political drama of Sangat Darshan by the Chief Minister. The courtiers properly screen the people before allowing them to meet the chief minister for this publicity stunt.

INSAAF demanded immediate registration of criminal cases against guilty official.

According to reports, later on after the media coverage the victim's family was pressurized y the authorities to change their statements given to the press previously.

-- Dr. Vineeta Gupta, General Secretary, Bhatinda 13.6.01

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