Ground Reports

Madhya Pradesh: Hindu Woman Trafficked To Maharashtra, Gangraped By Three Muslim Men

Subhi Vishwakarma

May 24, 2022, 06:41 PM | Updated 06:40 PM IST

Representative image (Freepik)
Representative image (Freepik)
  • After the police rescued victim from Maharashtra, the woman told the police that Rahees, along with the two men, kept her in confinement and gang-raped her.
  • An 18-year-old Hindu woman was allegedly abducted from her home in Datia district of Madhya Pradesh by a local Muslim resident named Rahees Khan alias Pauua, along with two accomplices, last month.

    After she was rescued by the police from Maharashtra, the woman told the police that Rahees, along with the two men, kept her in confinement and gang-raped her.

    The police have arrested all three men.

    Datia is from where Bharatiya Janata Party’s firebrand leader Narottam Mishra got elected as MLA in the last elections. Mishra is Minister for Home Affairs in the current state cabinet.

    First a missing person’s report, then FIR

    This correspondent accessed the first information report (number 145/2022), which was registered at Indergarh police station on 27 April.

    According to the FIR, the victim’s father Rambhan Singh Namdeo, a resident of the Chaudapura area of Ward Number 9, told the police that he had filed a missing person’s report (number 11/2022) for his daughter Sukriti Namdeo (name changed) on 24 April.

    Namdeo said that he had left for Bhind on 23 April to meet a relative. His wife Meera Devi, daughters Sukriti and Saurabhi, and son Krishna were at home. On the morning of 24 April, when his wife woke up, she found that Sukriti was not in her bed. She began a desperate search for her, only to realise that she had gone missing.

    The FIR
    The FIR

    The FIR further says that when Rambhan’s wife informed him about Sukriti, he immediately returned from Bhind. He reached home around 8.30am and started searching for his daughter. He visited her friends’ and relatives’ houses, but was unable to locate her or find her whereabouts.

    Finally, tired of finding her, Rambhan reached out to the police seeking help.

    During the preliminary investigation, the police recorded statements of the victim’s mother and sisters. They also recorded the statement of one of Sukriti’s friends, Sakshi Gupta. After these statements, the police registered the FIR.

    All the statements pointed towards the role of Rahees Khan alias Pauua, a resident of the same colony. The statements suggested that Rahees had forcefully abducted Sukriti to get her married to him.

    Sukriti’s family started receiving death threats from the accused after they approached the police, the statement says.

    The FIR further says that Sukriti is about 18 years and seven months old, and is seventh of the couple’s eight daughters. Six daughters elder to Sukriti are married. Sukriti has a younger sister and brother.

    The Police

    Police say medical reports suggest sexual assault.

    When this correspondent contacted the investigating officer, Siya Sharan Dhimar, on 16 May, the officer said that three suspects, including Rahees, had been arrested by the police.

    Dhimar said, "With technical assistance, we located all the three accused in a village in Maharashtra, which is around 1,100 kilometers from Datia.”

    Elaborating on the recovery drive, officer Dhimar said, “After an update from the cyber cell department, we located Rahees’s mobile. We booked a private vehicle and reached that place around 6.30 in the evening. To keep our identity safe, we took the help of local police. A local ASI [assistant sub-inspector] and some constables joined our team. We reached the spot where Rahees’s last location showed on the tracking device. A woman int he colony told us that Rahees and Sukriti had ran away. But because they had barely gone a kilometre away, our team managed to catch them.”

    The police arrested Rahees on 29 April. The same day, they recovered the girl. The other suspect, Bhure Khan, was arrested on 9 May from the border area of Datia. Mulla Khan, the third suspect, was arrested on 13 May.

    "The girl was sent for a detailed medical check-up the next morning in Datia. Medical reports suggested that the hymen of the girl was broken," said Dhimar.

    The officer further said that the victim recorded her statement under section 164 of the CrPC on 2 May, in front of the magistrate. After her statement, the police added a rape charge to the case.

    Distraught father breaks down

    This correspondent spoke to Sukriti's father Rambhan Namdeo on 13 May. He sounded upset and said that ever since his daughter had returned home from Maharashtra, she had taken ill.

    Asked about the entire incident, Namdeo, his voice choking, said, “Kya batayein madam, kalank lag gaya (What can I tell you, Madam, the incident has tainted the family’s image).”

    He narrated the ordeal: “The father-in-law of one of my daughters was not well. I had to visit him in Bhind [Bhind is around 130 kilometers from Datia], leaving my wife and children at home. I wish I had not left.”

    He said that on the morning of 24 April, when his wife was searching for Sukriti, she found the front door unlocked. His wife was sure that she had locked it before going to bed.

    When she told him about Sukriti’s absence over the phone, Namdeo took an early bus from Bhind and reached Datia by 8:30 in the morning. He too searched for his daughter, but when he found no success, on the suggestion of his relatives and neighbours, he filed a missing person’s report with the police.

    Namdeo said he earns a livelihood by stitching together plastic sheets made out of plastic bags in which grains are kept. These sheets are used in villages to cover grains, make shade, cover huts and also to make space for animals.

    He barely earns Rs 2,000 a month, he said. Because of poverty, he couldn't send his kids to school beyond class VII. All of his children studied at a government school located in Manipura area. His wife works part-time as a labourer in the fields. The house they live in is a one-room set built under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna.

    Namdeo said that Rahees is a known goon of the locality. He said he did not know about the other two men involved in the abduction and rape of her daughter.

    Namdeo said that after his daughter went missing, he went to the police station every day, but to no avail. Until the local Hindu activists intervened, the police did not file an FIR, he said.

    He said that after the police came to his house to record their statements, the family began receiving death threats. "Some men sent a word to us that Pauua [Rahees] will kill me if I try and be over-smart," said Namdeo.

    He said he accompanied the police in their van when they went to raid in Maharashtra to find his daughter.

    He said that when the police team were returning with his daughter from Maharashtra, Rahees made several calls to his uncle on the way, asking for money to be arranged. Namdeo was also in the same vehicle.

    “At the local police station [in Datia], Rahees gave a bundle of notes at the police station. He ordered food for all the police officers. The police did not beat him after taking the money,” said Namdeo.

    “A little thrashing would have been good,” he added, saying he is happy with the police action as his daughter had returned home.

    His voice choking, Namdeo further said, “Ab isse shaadi kon karega? Hum chhote log hain madam, kaise karke maine apni chhe betiyon ki shaadi ki hai. Ab samaj me koi bhi ladka ise nahi apnayega? (Who will marry my daughter? We are poor people. I have somehow married off my six daughters. Now no one in my community will accept my daughter as his bride).”

    Victim narrates her ordeal

    Two days after speaking to Namdeo, this correspondent got a chance to speak to the victim over the phone. This correspondent had called Namdeo to check on the health of his daughter, but he handed the phone to her. "Talk to Didi and tell her everything," Namdeo was heard over the phone as saying.

    In the beginning, Sukriti was hesitant to talk and replied to questions with only a yes or no. Later, she opened up.

    Correspondent: How old are you?

    Sukriti: 18, didi.

    Correspondent: Have you been to school?

    Sukriti: I studied till Class VII. Since then, I have been staying at home and helping my mother with housework.

    Correspondent: How have you been? I learned you were unwell.

    Sukriti: Now I am fine.

    Correspondent: Do you know Pauua?

    Sukriti: I had only heard of his name. I had never seen him before that night.

    Correspondent: Which night?

    Sukriti: That night, he came to our home and knocked on the door. I asked who was it. The person introduced himself as Pauua. I said Baba is not at home and asked him to come tomorrow. He said he had forgotten to give money to my father for his work, and asked me to take it. I opened the door, but he dragged me into his van and covered my mouth. I tried shouting, but by then, he was waving a pistol at me. He took me somewhere. It was a long drive. At a hotel, he offered me a samosa to eat, but only on the condition that I would remain silent. I was threatened that if I tried to escape or shout, he would first kill me, then my father and then the remaining family members.

    Correspondent: Was Rahees alone?

    Sukriti: There were two more men. I don't know them. But through their conversations, I learnt I was at Bhure Khan's house.

    Correspondent: What happened after that?

    Sukriti: They fed me with samosa and aloo vada. After that meal, they would always eat meat dishes. I had never eaten those things in life, so I remained without food for long. They did not even bother. They did wrong things to me."

    Correspondent: What 'wrong things'?

    Sukriti explained that she was raped in turns.

    Correspondent: What were you wearing that day?

    Sukriti: A kurta and a pair of leggings. Rahees took off my legging and the underwear. Then all three of them took turns doing wrong things with me.

    Correspondent: Didn't you shout?

    Sukriti: It was already night. They had threatened me and had weapons. So even when it hurt a lot, I suppressed my screams.

    Correspondent: What were they saying?

    Sukriti: They were saying they would kill me after their task was done.

    Correspondent: What task?

    Sukriti: They did not speak much about it. When one of them was lying over me, the other was watching it, standing by the door. They had all taken their pants off.

    At this point, Namdeo took the phone and repeated that Rahees was a known criminal of the area and no one dared to utter a word in front of him.

    According to Namdeo, Rahees had eloped with a Hindu girl of the same age as Sukriti a few years ago. She was later found dead at his house.

    No case was registered.

    "The whole colony knows this. That girl belonged to a weak family, who had already disowned her for accepting Islam and marrying Rahees. They did not file any case. That episode has emboldened Rahees as he went scot-free. "That family should have acted against him. They should have fought the case," said Namdeo.

    This correspondent asked the investigating officer about this alleged episode, but the officer said no such case was registered against Rahees at that police station.

    Also Read: Days After Plea Seeking Ban On Polygamy By Muslim Men, Muslim Woman Burns Husband And His Second Wife To Death In Bihar

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