SMS Help line to Address Violence Against Dalits and Adivasis in India
Type ATM < your message > Send to 9773904050
Geeta Devi lives in the village Raghunathpura, under Kanota P.S. in Jaipur Dist. with her husband Parsu Ram Bairwa. Their financial condition is very poor. On May 26, 2002 she went to take bath at a well in the village, which is near her brother in law’s home. There were a number of other women also at the well. There she washed her clothes and took a bath. Meanwhile, accused namely Pooran Jogi went there by his cycle which he parked aside and started loitering around near the well. He filled a bottle with water from the well and went to the drains to get fresh. After some time when all the women left and she was changing her clothes in the room the culprit went inside. He started molesting her, when she tried to shout for help, he threatened her to be quiet otherwise she would be defamed. When she did not stop shouting, he caught hold of her tongue with his hands which caused injuries in her mouth and blood started bleeding out of her mouth. Geeta Devi pushed him aside and tried to run away but Pooran caught her and flung her on the floor and stuffed her mouth with her cloth and brutally raped her. Geeta Devi got so many injuries on her face and various parts of her body.
After the crime, the rapist escaped by his bicycle. She threw bricks at the culprit but he was not hurt. Geeta Devi with her father in law went to the Police Station to lodge FIR against the accused. The local police registered her FIR under section 376/511, 323 read with section 3 (1)(xii) of SC/ST (PoA) Act 1989 as a complaint for attempt to rape but was not registered as per version of Geeta Devi. The local police did not send her for medical examination with a sole object to weaken the case. Next day, her medical examination was done. The medical report was not up to the mark thus again a medical examination was done in Jaipur SMS Hospital. On June 1, 2002, Geeta Devi’s statement was recorded under section 164 of Cr.P.C. Here she clearly stated about the occurrence of rape with her. The culprit tried to influence victim and her family to withdraw the case by offering her an amount of Rs. 50,000/- but they refused it.
The Local police started investigation on the case. The accused absconded. When he was not found, the local police arrested his family members after which 2 days later he was found and arrested and his family members were released by the police. Victim’s statement was recorded under section 164 Cr.P.C. on 1st June 2002.
The Compensation of Rs. 1 Lac as per the provisions of law under rules of SC/ST (PoA) Act, 1989 has been granted to Geeta Devi. The charge sheet for the case was submitted in the court. The special Court gave the judgment on 5th July 2004 where the court found the culprit guilty and was sentenced 1 year imprisonment with a fine of Rs. 700/-
Sakunti Devi (Musahar, 40 years) is the only child of her parents. She was born and raised in Kakan village, Pandaul block, Madhubani district, Bihar. At the age of 7 years, Sakunti Devi was married to Mahender Sadai from Nauhat Durgapur village in the same region. Her husband often works as a migrant labourer outside the village, while Sakunti Devi works as a daily wage agricultural labourer in her in-laws’ village. They have two children, both daughters, who are now grown up and married. In Sakunti Devi’s parents’ village of Kakan, there is a prominent Jha (FC Brahmin) family. Tejan Jha has three grown sons: Shekhar Jha, who owns a flour mill; Mohan Jha, who owns and operates a hay-making machine; and Vinod Jha, who has a government job. The Jhas are economically, socially and politically powerful. In November 2000, Tejan Jha raped a Dalit widow named Madani Devi, who lives near Sakunti Devi’s family in Kakan. Madani Devi filed a case of rape against the perpetrator. Tejan Jha then threatened and intimidated Madani Devi in an effort to force her to withdraw the case. Finally, he promised her Rs.50,000/- as compensation, and Madani Devi agreed and withdrew the case. However, Tejan Jha never gave her the money.
As Sakunti Devi has no brothers, when her parents died she inherited the small plot of land they owned. The plot is about 6 katthas in size (approximately 1/8 acre). Tejan Jha and his sons, knowing that Sakunti Devi has no brothers and that she lives with her in-laws, developed an interest in capturing Sakunti Devi’s land. Sakunti Devi does have a few male cousins who live in Kakan, but they are daily wage agricultural labourers, economically dependent on the Jha landowners. One day in April 2002, while Sakunti Devi was at her home in Nauhat Durgapur, Tejan Jha arrived there by motorcycle and told her that her cousin had suffered an accident and his condition was very serious. Tejan Jha said that he had come to inform her and would take her by motorcycle to the hospital. “If you don’t come with me now on the motorcycle, I’m afraid you may not reach him before he dies,” he said. Sakunti Devi did not realise that this was an elaborate deception. Trusting Tejan Jha, she left what she was doing and accompanied him on his motorcycle. Tejan Jha drove her back to her natal village of Kakan. When they reached her home there, she realised that the story of her cousin’s accident was a complete fabrication. Instead of her cousins, she found Tejan Jha’s sons waiting for them. Using threatening language, the four Jha men told Sakunti Devi that the land she had inherited actually did not belong to her parents, but to them. The dominant caste Jhas then took Sakunti Devi with them to the District Court in Madhubani, where they presented her with two legal documents that she could not read. Alone, without any support and intimidated by the four Jha men, Sakunti Devi gave her thumbprint on the papers.
The dominant caste Jhas then took Sakunti Devi directly back to her in-laws’ village, so that she would have no opportunity to inform her cousins of what had happened. Dependent on her wages as an agricultural labourer for her livelihood, Sakunti Devi could not afford to leave her work for a few weeks after this incident. About a month later, in May 2002, Sakunti Devi travelled to her natal home to talk with her cousins and see to the matter of her land. When she arrived at her home in Kakan, however, she did not find her cousins at home. On seeing her, Shekhar Jha, Mohan Jha, Vinod Jha and their father Tejan Jha approached Sakunti Devi and shouted at her, “This land is not yours! This is our land. You have nothing here and no right over this land.” When Sakunti Devi protested, the dominant caste Jhas began abusing and threatening her, “Whore! We will break your legs!” The four Jha men then took turns slapping Sakunti Devi on the face. They began punching her with their fists as well. At this point, Sakunti Devi’s cousins, hearing the commotion, arrived and attempted to rescue her. However, the dominant caste Jhas attacked her cousins as well, and beat them. After the assault, the Jha perpetrators left and Sakunti Devi and her cousins returned to their homes. A few days later, Sakunti Devi approached a local Dalit advocate, Bindeshwar Paswan (SC Dusadh) and asked his help in registering a case against the Jhas. Note that the case was a land title suit, strictly concerned with the land. Sakunti Devi did not file a criminal case against the Jha perpetrators for the physical attack on her and her cousins, as securing her land rights was her primary concern.
As Sakunti Devi is illiterate and not knowledgeable about legal matters, she left the case entirely in the hands of Advocate Bindeshwar Paswan. After some months, he informed her that the case would be taken up by another advocate, Mangal Jha (FC Brahmin). Initially, Sakunti Devi attended court sessions for her case, but the case appeared to be making no progress and the journeys to Madhubani town became prohibitively expensive. Since 2004, she has stopped attending court. Meanwhile, a middleman informed her that Advocate Mangal Jha had handed over the case to a FC Rajput advocate, whose name Sakunti Devi does not even know. In Kakan village, Sakunti Devi’s cousins endure intimidation and threats from the dominant caste Jha perpetrators on a routine basis. Economically dependent on the Jhas for their livelihood, her cousins have buckled to the pressure of the perpetrators not to interfere in the land case. Sakunti Devi, therefore, receives no support from her cousins. Meanwhile, Tejan Jha and his sons make use of Sakunti Devi’s land as though it were theirs.
Dugani Devi (Chamar, 25 years) was married to Raju Das at the age of 12 years. Raju Das was 11 years older and had passed 10th standard. Dugani Devi had never attended school and remains illiterate. With Raju Das, Dugani Devi gave birth to three boys and one girl: Paramanand Das (12 years), Rinki Kumari (8 years), Dinesh Kumar (5 years), and Umesh Kumar (2 years). Dugani currently lives with her four children and mother-in-law Nakati Devi in a small mud hut in Naukasar village, Jhajha block, Jammui district, Bihar. Raju Das stays in Delhi.
Dugani and her in-laws own about ½ acre of land. The land is in the name of Dugani’s father-in-law. In order to eke out a livelihood, Dugani Devi formerly collected dattun sticks (for teeth cleaning) from the forest and sold them in the village. After she began having children, Dugani stopped selling dattun and remained at home. Her mother-in-law took up dattun sales to compensate for the loss of income. Later, Dugani resumed work, but as a daily wage agricultural labourer. As a seasonal agricultural labourer in the fields of dominant caste landlords, Dugani Devi earns Rs.30/- per day when work is available. Dugani’s husband Raju Das has a younger brother Thanu Das (24 years), who operates an armed “naxalite” gang in the jungle. According to his family members, Thanu Das began to be involved with petty thieves at the age of 12 years, under the influence of a cousin. Even though he rarely actually committed burglary with the gang, he became known to the local law authorities, and the police began to pick him up whenever any crime was committed. After the police several times visited his house in this manner, Thanu’s family began reprimanding him for his behaviour. One day after a scolding, Thanu Das left his house saying that he would never return.
In Naukasar village and the surrounding region, Dalits endure extreme forms of exploitation and oppression from the dominant caste, landowning Yadavs (BC Ahirs). In a number of instances, groups of Yadav men forcibly entered Dalit homes at will and raped or gang raped Dalit women and girls. The Dalits are so economically dependent and the Yadavs so politically powerful that the Dalits largely remain silent about these atrocities. When Thanu Das reappeared in the region several years after his sudden departure from home, he came as the leader of his own armed gang, residing in the jungle and challenging the dominant caste Yadavs for their atrocities against Dalits. Thanu Das’s gang is not formally linked to the naxalite group MCC (Maoist Communist Centre), but police consider Thanu Das’s gang as in effect a naxalite outfit. Once Thanu’s gang became active in the region, the police began harassing the Dalit community of Naukasar, particularly Thanu’s family, and accusing them of sheltering the gang leader. On numerous occasions, local police picked up Dugani’s husband Raju Das as a means of forcing Thanu Das to turn himself in. Harassed and terrorised by the police, Raju Das ultimately decided to flee the village and immigrate to Delhi, where he ultimately found work in a factory. Due to fear of police harassment, Raju Das rarely visits Naukasar.
In April 2002, the son of a Marwari businessman was kidnapped from the area. Suspecting Thanu Das, the police came to Dugani Devi’s home in search of him. In the evening Dugani Devi was at home with her niece (sister’s daughter) Sindhu Devi, who is a young widow. Dugani’s children were studying in the hut’s main room. There was no one else at home at the time. About 10 police officers arrived at about 9:00 p.m., disembarked from their jeeps, and immediately entered Dugani Devi’s hut and began searching the rooms of the hut. Dugani Devi stood in the courtyard with her niece. Dugani says, “I was too terrified to speak up. I did not dare to go inside to see what they were doing in the rooms.” When they did not find Thanu Das, the police left again. Dugani Devi rushed to her children to find them scared but unmolested. The police had ransacked the hut and arbitrarily confiscated a number of the family’s precious belongings; including cooking utensils and a new sari that Dugani’s mother had given her. At 8:00 a.m. the following morning, two police jeeps again arrived in front of Dugani Devi’s home and 11 police personnel entered the hut. The police were from Chandar Police Station. One police officer– whose name, caste and position Dugani Devi did not learn –came by a different vehicle from Simultalla Police Station. He began to question Dugani Devi regarding Thanu Das. When Dugani insisted that she had no knowledge of his whereabouts, the officer verbally abused her, saying, “Illegitimate cunt! He brings money and gives it to you. You are eating the food he provides and you say you don’t know him!”
The police then threatened Dugani Devi, saying, “We will shove a bamboo rod in your cunt! We will force a rifle up your cunt!” The police also forcibly seized hold of Sindhu Devi, claiming that she was Thanu Das’s wife. In fact, Thanu Das is unmarried. When Sindhu Devi screamed loudly, the police let go of her. Finally the police left Dugani Devi and her niece, threatening them by saying, “If you do not bring us Thanu Das, then we will take you away. We’ll put a burning fire in your cunt! We’ll break your bones!” Later the same day, at 6:00 p.m., again a police jeep from Simultalla Station arrived in front of Dugani Devi’s home. At this time, Dugani Devi was at home alone with her children. Eight police personnel, including one female constable, approached Dugani Devi. They said, “The Superintendent of Police has asked us to take you to Jhajha Police Station. Then Thanu Das will come by himself to the police.” The Superintendent of Police for Jammui at the time was Barauiddin Ahmad (Muslim). Dugani pleaded, “But I do not know anything about him [Thanu Das].” The police ignored her and told her to get into the jeep. Worried about what would happen to her children if she left them alone at home, Dugani Devi insisted on bringing her four children with her. Other people in the Dalit colony watched as Dugani Devi and her small children were put into the police jeep and driven away. Dugani says, “No one in my village spoke a word to the police, due to fear.”
Dugani Devi learned later that on the same day that the police picked her up, the Jhajha Police Station’s Station Officer Surendar Paswan, a Dalit, had been transferred and replaced by V.P. Singh, a dominant caste Rajput. The police took her to the train station, from which two male and one female constable accompanied her and her children to Jhajha Police Station. Dugani Devi did not know the constables’ names or castes. It was 8:00 p.m. when they arrived in Jhajha. The police led Dugani Devi and her children into a room built like a large hall and locked it from the outside. In the ensuing hours, Dugani’s children began to cry due to hunger and thirst. The police standing guard shouted at Dugani and her children, telling them to keep quiet, and did not feed them. Dugani and her children remained locked up and alone that night. The next day, four police officers – two of whom were Yadavs (BC Ahir) and two of whom were other non-Dalits – took Dugani Devi from the cell to another small room, saying they needed to make inquiries. Dugani Devi did not learn the four officers’ names. Instead of conducting an interrogation, the four officers forcibly stripped Dugani Devi and gang raped her. Dugani Devi fought and protested, but the officers physically overpowered her and raped her, one after another. During the rape, the officers used extremely degrading language to insult Dugani.
After the gang rape, Dugani Devi was returned to the cell with her children. Later in the day, however, she was again called out and again gang raped by the same four officers. During the night, too, she was brought to another room and gang raped. For three days and three nights, Dugani Devi was kept in police custody. She lost track of how many times she was taken from one room to another and gang raped by the police. On the fourth day, Dugani Devi was brought before Station Officer V.P. Singh. He said to her, “Bring me a guarantor for your bail, and then we will release you.” He then had a message to the same effect sent to Dugani Devi’s home. When Dugani’s family received the message, her sister and father-in-law immediately came to the police station. The police pressurised Dugani’s father in-law to give his thumb print as signature on a blank piece of paper. After that, at about 11:00 a.m., Dugani and her children were released. Due to fear and shame, Dugani kept silent about what had happened in the police station. Ten days after her release from Jhajha police station, Dugani’s husband Raju Das returned from Delhi. In private, Dugani told her husband everything that the police had done to her in the police station. She told him because she feared that otherwise, he might learn of the gang rapes through some other channel and might misunderstand that she was to blame. Raju Das took Dugani Devi and their children with him to Delhi in the hope of escaping more violence from the Bihar police. As a result of the violence, Dugani Devi suffered vaginal and body pain for several months. She took medication for one month.
For the next two years, Dugani Devi lived in Delhi with her husband and children. In April 2004, police again came to Dugani’s home in the village, looking for her. She was in Delhi and heard about the police visit afterward. In July 2004, her father-in-law learned that she had been gang raped by the police for three days, and died from the shock. Raju Das and Dugani Devi had to return to the village to complete Dugani’s father-in-law’s funeral rites. As soon as the rites were completed, Raju returned to Delhi. Dugani and the children remained to take care of her mother-in-law. Dugani Devi and her husband Raju Das both felt that because the police themselves were the perpetrators of the atrocity, it would be fruitless to seek justice through the police. Dugani says, “Who will take this case?”
Tara Devi and husband Girraj have been living in the Diggo village since two years after marriage. On February 3, 2002 Tara Devi was going to her home carrying some fire wood on her head. Meanwhile around 4 O’ clock when Tara Devi arrived near Khura (a place), where Chatrya Ram, the accused, rushed toward Tara Devi and started doing some vulgar acts. Tara covered her face with her Chunar to avoid. He asked Tara Devi that who permitted her to take firewood from there; Tara Devi did not reply; Chatrya pulled the fire woods down from her. He came there with ill intention, caught Tara and pushed her over the land, Tara started shouting but Chatrya clutched Tara’s mouth with hand, stripped her clothes & raped her. After committing rape Chatrya left her and threatened her to keep quiet or be killed otherwise. Chatrya ran away from there. Tara Devi started crying, Listening her cries, her sister in-law and two other villagers namely Dhanpal & Bajju Meena went to the spot. Tara went home with them and told her in- laws about the whole incident.
Next day of the incident, Tara Devi went to register FIR against the accused but the local police especially SHO namely Sukh Ram Gurjar did not register her FIR to help the accused as they were from the same community. After a very long struggle Tara and her family were able to register the FIR after three days from the day of incident but the Police registered her FIR very moderately. Later on, the local police sent Tara Devi for her medical examination. Her statement under section 164 of Cr.P.C was recorded on February 12, 2002.
Soon after registering FIR and medical examination, it was the duty of District Collector to grant Rs 25000/- as interim monetary relief to Tara Devi but this was not followed by the administration and they didn’t grant her any monetary relief. Although later on after 7 months compensation of Rs. 1, 00,000 was granted to Tara Devi. The case was ended with conviction.