India stands in a place where the rapists roam free, while the women are locked inside, previously at their homes out of shame and fear. But now, in jail, as the civil court in the Araria district of Bihar has jailed a 22-year-old gang-rape victim and other two social workers for the charges of hindering proceedings of the court. The police reveal while recording her narrative in the rape case before a magistrate in Araria, the woman allegedly raised her voice, asserting she would sign the statement only after one of the activists has seen it.
The Print reports, the gang-rape happened on July 6, after which the survivor filed a complaint the next day, July 7, at the Araria women’s police station. Even after an FIR was registered, the magistrate asked to record her statement under Section 164 of CrPC 10 July 10.
According to the police, she arrived with two social activists Kalyani Badola and Tanmay Nivedata hailing from NGO Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan to register her statement. When the magistrate asked her to sign her statement, the woman allegedly asked that one of the activists first read it out to her.
They also mentioned, no complainant can bring along anyone during the recording of a statement before the magistrate. As of now, all three women are now in jail in Samastipur, located around 225 km away from Araria. Meanwhile, the investigation of the same case is underway, and the officials have arrested a single accused until now, which makes ten days. The progress in the case is lacking, as the four unidentified men cited in raping her are still absconding.
Araria Sub Divisional police officer Pushkar Kumar told The Print, “Police officers were not involved in the court proceedings. The survivor has been arrested on the basis of an FIR registered by the judicial magistrate of the honorable court.”
According to the charges slammed against them and the FIR, it is said that they ‘misbehaved’ with the supervising officer.
The registered FIR follows a charge letter signed and sent by judicial officer Rajiv Ranjan Sinha. The letter was issued on the behalf of Mustafa Shahi, the magistrate who has accused Kalyani and Tanmay of trying to tear the statement papers and of abusing him and the investigating officer, as per The Wire.
The organization has denied the charge, accused the court of insensitivity, but even then, they have had to spend a week at the jail, said Ashish Ranjan of JJSS as they moved a bail application. Just in, JJSS has also pointed she was sexually assaulted by multiple men, and even then, the hospital’s authority didn’t do a COVID-19 infection test on her.
The Indian Express quotes Ashish Ranjan, “The survivor was well within her rights to ask for a confidant. The court mistook her agitation as a personal affront. The focus seems to have shifted from the rape case to the misbehavior allegations on the survivor. We have full faith in the judiciary and are looking for legal remedies.”
Since the incident got due attention, some senior lawyers from across the country have drafted to the chief justice and other judges of the Patna high court asking immediate intervention in the matter. The letter, signed by several lawyers including Indira Jaisingh, Prashant Bhushan, Rebecca John among others, has sought “an urgent and systemic change in the treatment of survivors of the violent sexual crimes.”
The hypocrisy stands there when most of the people walked in with candles in hand in support of deceased Nirbhaya, but not listen to the ordeal of a woman who went through the same. Her rage was noticed, but not the dilemma of having to stand in the same space as her rapist.
Update: The survivor has received bail. However, Kalyani and Nivedata continue to be in jail.