This shocking incident happened in a village near Mul in Chandrapur district on 27th May. Today is 5th June; so this is not ‘news’ of the merciless beating the hapless women received at the hands of two male relatives; it is not even about the shocking fact that her attackers tore off her clothes so there was not a thread left on her to cover her modesty so they could beat her better. They could even prod her private parts with the ‘bailgadi’ yokel they were beating her with, and then they turned her over to beat her more on her buttocks. They beat her till she fell unconscious and then they poured water into her ears, nose and mouth to ‘wake her up’ so they could beat her more. The spot where she had had her family planning operation decades ago split open and she began bleeding – yet the villagers who had surrounded her to watch the ‘tamasha’ did not intervene, did not help or inform the police.
(It took another old woman, a ‘bhajiwalli’ named Rukmabai who had come to village Yergaon to sell vegetables to cover up the injured woman with her ‘duppata’ and then go appeal to the village police Patil for help.)
No, the real news is that even 10 days after the incident, the Police Inspector of Mul, Jaywant Chavan, who refused to heed to the woman’s complaints – before, when she suspected just such violence, and even after the brutal attack, did not file a report of cognizable crime against the attackers, hasn’t been suspended or punished in any way.
Remember the Fadnavis family to whom our Chief Minister belongs hails from Mul? Also remember the big claims BJP has been making about curbing crime against women under their Beti Bachao abhiyan?
Well, this is their seriousness about curbing crime against women. Not even registering the crime after it has happened!
It took Paromita Goswami and her NGO called Shramik Elgar to complain to a senior police official and get the crime registered.
“The victim came to me on 1st June when her repeated complaints to file FIR hadn’t been attended to. She was still very much in pain and showed me the ugly bruises all over her body. I advised her to go first to the hospital and get herself treated!” Recounts Paromita.
She adds “When I asked the PI (police inspector) why he didn’t register a cognizable offence and arrest the two, I was told it was a family dispute. So, I approached Superintendent of Police Niyatee Thakar, who directed registration of a cognizable offence and arrest of the two. The two were arrested on Saturday,” Goswami said.
Asked why a cognizable offence wasn’t registered against the culprits, Thakar said, “The two sides have been in a long-standing civil dispute. After doing her medical check-up, we did register the offence and arrested the two.” (Remember the medical check up happened only when the woman went to hospital goaded by Paromita.
Chawre, the police Patil of the village in fact said, “The woman was in the habit of registering complaints against the two…”
Wasn’t it in fact a good thing that the woman kept approaching the police, it showed her faith in the system, says Goswami.
Goswami finds the police statement ridiculous.
“It is good she kept going to the police… after all she was a middle aged woman, living alone.” (Her husband is mentally weak and unstable, instead of being a support to his wife, she has to look after him.)
“If she feels insecure, who will she turn to but the police for protection? In fact if they had taken her earlier complaints seriously she wouldn’t have been beaten up so mercilessly and brutally.”
Prabhakar and Navnath Nagapure, the two men who assaulted her are both her relatives, and the family has had a long standing feud over a piece of land that belongs to the extended family.
“They kept asking me sign over my rights to the land to them. I used to tell them that even if I sign how will it help you? There are names of so many other relatives on the 7/12” says the injured woman.
Not just the Victim, now villagers have a grouse against Paromita as well
The irony is, the village people still do not think injustice has been done to the victim. After FIR was finally lodged and the two men and one man’s wife, Kusum, who had provoked the fight were arrested, some local ‘leaders’ held a press conference against Paromita Goswami and her Shramik Elgar.
“Who is this woman from Bengal who is interfering in our village matter? She should go back to her state!” was the sum and substance of the press conference.
This is a typical case of ‘Burking’ by the Police
Burking is a word that had been coined by a Police officer to denote police shirking in their duty of filing an FIR when a crime is committed anywhere in the state.
Paromita has written in her facebook post today –
‘Burking – a term used by police referring to nonregistration of offences. In November 2017 a study conducted under Additional DGP Bipin Bihari showed that burking was as high as 50% in Maharashtra. Further, the study showed that burking was accompanied with ‘victim blaming’ wherein the police blame the victim for their predicament.’
(In 2017, suspecting that the police force of the state was being delinquent in their responsibility to fight crime, DGP Bipin Bihari had conducted a unique experiment. He had many volunteers, both men and women, from Maharashtra cities as well as villages, go to the police with mock complaints about various crimes supposedly committed against them. Serious crime as well. To his shock, the study showed that in only 50% of the cases Police bothered to file an FIR.)
It has been 6 months since that study was conducted.
What has changed, if anything?
In this case also the police were found blaming the victim AND the lady Social Worker who helped that hapless woman.
The strange co incidence is that the woman’s name is the same as Shivaji’s mother. And she lives in Maharashra where Shivaji Maharaj is most revered!