INDIA: Gang rape of a tribal woman by upper caste men in Uttar Pradesh
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ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - URGENT APPEALS PROGRAM
14 February 2006
UA-062-2006: INDIA: Gang rape of a tribal woman by upper caste men in Uttar Pradesh
INDIA: Rape; Discrimination; Police inaction; Rule of law
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from the People's Vigilance Committee for Human Rights (PVCHR), a local human rights group working in Uttar Pradesh, India, regarding the gang rape of a young woman. The woman belonged to the Nut Community (a scheduled tribe) in Sirsi village, Chandauli District, Uttar Pradesh. She was gang raped by four men from the upper caste Hindu Community on 14 January 2006. According to the latest information we have received, the Chandauli police have delayed the arrest of the perpetrators who, after an unreasonably long length of time were finally arrested. The victim and her family are afraid that they will face intimidation from the Indian community around them because the perpetrators are from an influential upper caste community in the area. Seven families comprising of 35 individuals belonging to the Nut Community, reside at Sirsi Village, Chandauli District, Uttar Pradesh, India. The Nut Community are one of the most marginalized tribe communities in Indian society and they have been living in this village for generations. At 1:00am on 14 January 2006, four men namely Pankaj Singh, Barsati Singh, Pintu Singh and Ghutau Singh from near Hinauti Village came to Sirsi Village and attacked a family residing in the Nut Community. The four men brutally assaulted family members and chased them away from the house, leaving one member of the family; Ms. X (aged 22) alone in the house. The four men then forcibly took her to the pulse plants field, 1 kilometer away from her house, where they gang raped her for three hours. When the victim fell unconscious, they threw her onto a nearby railway line and left Sirsi Village..
In the early hours of the same day, an old woman living in Sirsi village found the victim lying on the railway line and informed this discovery to other villagers. The victim's family reported the incident to the Chandauli Police Station and lodged a First Information Report (FIR) against the four perpetrators under Section 376 Indian Penal Code and under Section 3(2) and 5 of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989.
However, the police delayed taking any action into this case or arresting the perpetrators. They only arrested the perpetrators over 40 hours later because of pressure from the Nut Community. The four perpetrators are members of the Singh Community, which are feudal landlords and have huge influence over the village.
In such cases of abuse by the Singh Community, it is common in India that the victims, who are mostly from the poorest sectors in society, are pressured by the perpetrators to withdraw their complaints against them. In particular, when the perpetrators belong to an upper Hindu Community, the victims face even more serious intimidation and pressure. In many cases, if they refuse to withdraw their complaints, they are forced to leave their place of residence. Due to this, the victim and her family are afraid that they will face similar problems as described above.
The Nut Community members in Sirsi Village live in very poor conditions and have to make their living by begging. They live in small huts without roofs and do not own any land. The land where the Nut Community have lived for generations is owned by the government (Gram Samaj). Section 122 B (f) of the Uttar Pradesh Zimindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act 1950 guarantees the people legal ownership over the land if they have resided on it for over 22 years. However, such rights of the Nut Community members have never been realized. It is also reported that there are 14 children who are all under the age of 14 but do not go to school and many families do not have ration cards despite their dreadful living conditions.
The Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989 has been established for the purpose of giving special protection to marginalized communities in India. However, it has no meaning in Uttar Pradesh because the district administration, particularly the local police do not care for the tribal communities and thus have failed to implement the law. The police also conspire with influential persons within the district who exploit the tribal communities. Urgent action is required to pressurize the local authorities to take strict action according to the SC/ST Act 1989 so that the perpetrators are punished accordingly and the victim is adequately compensated.
Please write to the authorities listed below and urge them to prosecute the perpetrators by strictly implementing the SC/ST Act 1989 in this case. Please also urge the relevant authorities to ensure that the victim and her family receive adequate compensation and protection from the alleged perpetrators.
INDIA: Gang rape of a tribal woman by upper caste men in Uttar Pradesh
Name of victim: Ms. X (name withheld), aged 22, resident of Sirsi Village, Chandauli District, Uttar Pradesh, India, belongs to the Nut Community
Name of alleged perpetrators:
1. Pankaj Singh, son of Brahma Singh
2. Barsati Singh, son of Ramvilas Singh
3. Pintu Singh, son of Mahesh Singh
4. Ghutau Singh, son of Bharat Singh
All reside in Hinauti Village, Chandauli Police Station, Chandauli District, Uttar Pradesh, India
Date of incident: Early morning of 14 January 2006
Place of incident: Pulse plants field 1 kilometer away from the victim's house in Sirsi Village
Police station the case was reported: Chandauli Police Station
I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding a gang rape of a young woman belonging to the Nut Community (a scheduled tribe) by four men from the upper caste Hindu Community, which took place in Sirsi village, Chandauli District, Uttar Pradesh on 14 January 2006. According to the information I have received, the four men approached the victim's house and severely assaulted her family members. They then dragged the victim to a pulse plants field 1 kilometer away from her house and gang raped her for three hours. The victim's family lodged a First Information Report (FIR) under Section 376 Indian Penal Code as well as under Section 3(2) and 5 of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 against the above named perpetrators at the Chandauli Police Station.
I was also informed that the Chandauli police have unreasonably delayed the arrest of the perpetrators; 40 hours after the incident of rape had occurred and the police had still not arrested anyone of the perpetrators. Although the perpetrators were finally arrested, I have doubts over whether the police have the will to pursue the action against the perpetrators. In many similar cases, a common incidence is that the victims are forced to withdraw their complaints due to the serious intimidation and threats made by the perpetrators. The local police do not care about the tribal community and fail to implement the laws that are supposed to protect such communities. Instead, the police conspire with those who try to exploit the tribal communities. Even the SC/ST Act 1989, which gives special protection to marginalized communities, does very little to alter the status of these people.
I therefore strongly urge you to ensure that the perpetrators are prosecuted under the SC/ST Act 1989 and receive a proper punishment. The victim should also receive adequate compensation under this Act. I also urge you to take proper action to protect the victim and her family from the intimidation by the perpetrators. I want to remind you that there are currently no remedies available for the victim and her family and this is aggravated by the fact that there is no effective system of witness protection to ensure the security of the victims. I further urge the Government of India to strictly implement the SC/ST Act in order to eliminate the violence against the marginalized communities in the country.
PLEASE SEND LETTERS TO:
1. Mr. Yashpal Singh, IPS
Director General of Police
Tilak Marg, Lucknow
Tel : +91 52 2220 6104
Fax :+91 52 2220 6120, 2220 6174.
E-mail : email@example.com
2. Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh
Chief Minister's Secretariat
Fax: + 91 52 2223 0002 / 2223 9234
3. Mr. Guru Prasad
Chandauli, Uttar Pradesh
4. Mr. R.K.Chaturvedi
Superintendent of Police (SP)
5. Justice A. S. Anand
National Human Rights Commission of India
Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg
Tel: + 91 11 2307 4448
6. Justice A.P. Mishra
Uttar Pradesh Human Rights Commission
6-A Kalidass Marg
Tel: + 91 52 2272 6742
Fax: + 91 52 2272 6743
7. Ms. Yakin Erturk
Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women
c/o Ms Lucinda Ohanlon
OHCHR-UNOG, Palais Wilson,
8-14 Avenue de la Paix,
1211 Geneva 10
Tel: +41 22 917 9615
Fax: +41 22 917 9006 (Attn: Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women)
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
Posted on 2006-02-14
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