When his daughter disappeared after going to school, the father himself went around collecting evidence when he could not find her. The father alleged that even after he submitted CCTV footage to the police, they kept sleeping on the matter. Later, the daughter’s body was found on the side of a railway track. The relatives have asserted that as soon as the police had the information that the accused in the case is a pandit (Savarna caste) they took to keeping silent. At the same time,theCommissioner and Additional Commissioner of the police are appearing evasive on the issue of action against the guilty police officials. The matter has been raised in the House by MLC [Member of the Legislative Council]Bhimrao Ambedkar, and on May 26, Chandrashekhar Azad met the victim’s family.
Uttar Pradesh — Lucknow, as the capital city of Uttar Pradesh [UP], is considered to be the most sensitive place from the point of view of security. The CM [chief minister] of UP, Yogi Adityanath, also lives in Lucknow. It is said that even the police are always on high alert regarding any incident. But in a recent case of gang rape and murder, the police have been accused of being insensitive in the matter. Discussions among the people have even noted that when it became clear the incident involved the daughter of a Dalit family and that an upper-caste youth is among the named accused, the police were seen to be shying away from taking any action. However, when the police realized they were getting themselves embroiled in a controversy, they started taking action.
What is the matter about?
This recent case happened in Jankipuram in the Vikas Nagar area of Lucknow. A 15-year-old minor girl from a Dalit family was a Class X student in a private school in Vikas Nagar. The school day ended at 2:30 pm. However, they were holding a compulsory, one-hour long extra class for preparation for the high school [board] examination after the end of the normal school day. So school actually finished at 3:30 pm for those students. The minor girl’s father himself used to drop her to school and then bring her back home. On March 29, when the father reached the school to pick her up, he was informed that his daughter had already left the school to go home.
But the father knew that his daughter had not reached home. For about an hour, the father kept searching for his minor daughter, but she was nowhere to be found.
About 500 meters from the school is the Sabzi Mandi police outpost of Vikas Nagar police station. The father went there to seek help from the police to find his daughter. He told us that the Jitendra Patel, the official in charge of the outpost ignored him completely. After this, the girl’s father himself, with the help of some other people, obtained the footage from the CCTVs installed in the houses and shops in the surrounding area and handed it over to the police.
The father has alleged that “Even after the police was handed the CCTV footage, they didn’t take any action. The whole night passed, and it was only on the morning of March 30, at about 11 am that the police detained two youths on the basis of the CCTV footage.” The father then alleged that the name of a person belonging to the Brahmin caste also came up in relation to the incident. The SHO [Station House Officer]at the time, Anand Kumar Tiwari, put pressure to have the name removed from the records.
According to the schoolgirl’s father, the police lodged the FIR [first information report]at exactly 2:20 pm [on March 30], but they let it sit and didn’t do anything for two days. The result of the police’s negligence and disregard was such that on April 1, the Sitapur district GRP [Government Railway Police] provided information that the daughter had been found on a railway track, 130km from her home. She was in a seriously injured condition. On April 5, the father requested the police to arrange a medical exam, but again the police did not respond to him. On April 7, while still under treatment, the minor girl succumbed to her injuries and died. The father has alleged that, due to the police’s negligence and the poorly executed prosecution, two of the accused have been released on bail and the police are trying to save themselves from arresting two other youth because they are upper caste (Brahmins).
CCTV footage was gathered by the father himself and handed to the police
The father of the Dalit minor went to all the houses and shops with CCTV, on the roads leading to and from the school, and pleaded to be shown the footage. In this, the footage from a camera installed outside a clinic on the way to school showed the schoolgirl sitting on the edge of a plaza. Soon after, the footage shows, two youths arrive there on a white scooter, UP 32 KB 2668, and take the minor schoolgirl with them. This CCTV footage of the incident was shown on March 29 itself to the outpost in-charge Jitendra Patel. Along with this, the father also sent the CCTV footage to the outpost in-charge’s number at 8:37 pm, but the police still didn’t do anything.
“The youths sold the minor in Sitapur for money”
According to the minor’s father, on the morning of April 30, the police detained Indranagar residents Krishna Gupta and Harshvardhan for questioning. During the police interrogation, both the accused confessed that they had taken the minor to Sitapur and handed her over to Ranjit Trivedi. Ranjit Trivedi had paid them some cash for this. According to the police, the minor girl had been having a love affair with one of the young men.
Police have Ranjit Trivedi’s name removed from FIR, the complaint was also filed on CM’sJansunwai portal
The father had submitted a written complaint that named Krishna Gupta, Harshvardhan, and Ranjitat the police station. He alleged that the then SHO, Anand Kumar Tiwari, being a young man of the same caste, had Ranjit Trivedi’s name removed from the report. The father called the CM helpline 1076but he did not get through. He also made a complaint on the Jansunwai portal on March 30 itself, in which he mentioned the involvement of Ranjit Trivedi in the incident. But the FIR registered on March 30 did not appear to include Ranjit Trivedi’s name and the police had sent Krishna Gupta and Harshvardhan to prison. The schoolgirl’s father said that due to a lack of strong prosecution, both the accused got out of jail on bail on May 6. After the death of the schoolgirl, however, the police have charged them under more sections [of the Indian Penal Code].
FIR was registered but the police delayed action until the minor died
The schoolgirl’s father had himself obtained the CCTV footage and submitted it to the police. Based on this the police registered an FIR on March 30 and detained two people. While being interrogated, both had named Ranjit Trivedi. The allegation made by the schoolgirl’s father is that after this the police did not take any action. “On the morning of April 1, the Railway Police at Biswan in Sitapur district, 130 km from my home, sent information that my daughter had been found lying on the railway track. After which she was admitted to Sitapur District Hospital. But given her critical condition, she was referred to the Lucknow Trauma Centre.”
A minor school girl had been assaulted according to eyewitnesses
According to the schoolgirl’s father, the Railway Police informed him about what happened to his daughter. Some people who had been present there had told them that during the morning a youth had been seen assaulting the girl on the side of the railway track. She had fallen on the railway track while trying to get away from the youth. Some local people caught hold of the boy (Ranjit) and beat him up, and then informed the police. The police reached the spot and admitted both of them to Sitapur District Hospital. Then, at around 3 pm in the afternoon, the schoolgirl was referred to Lucknow Trauma Centre.
Father kept pleading with Vikas Nagar police for a medical exam
While talking about the details of the matter, the schoolgirl’s father said that his daughter had been undergoing treatment at the trauma center. He repeatedly asked the then inspector at the Vikas Nagar police station, Anand Kumar Tiwari to arrange a medical exam for his daughter. The father believed that the daughter had also been gang-raped, due to which it was necessary for a medical exam to be conducted. On April 5the schoolgirl’s father also requested a medical on the inspector’s CUG [closed user group] number. But, the police completely disregarded him, and on April 7, the schoolgirl died.
Post-mortem confirmed gang-rape
A post-mortem exam was conducted following the schoolgirl’s demise. The post-mortem report was a damning indictment of the police’s inaction. What the schoolgirl’s father had been suspecting, again and again, was exactly what had happened. Nearly two months after the incident, the police realized they had nowhere to hide, and on May 21, they added charges under the POCSO Act and sections 304 and 120B.
The main accused was arrested almost two months after the incident
According to the police, on April 1, both the schoolgirl and Ranjit were taken by the police to the district hospital for treatment. The police also said that on the afternoon of April 1, Ranjit ran away from the hospital. But on learning about the gang rape from the post-mortem after the death of the schoolgirl, two months after the incident the police orchestrated his arrest and sent Ranjit to prison.
“Police protecting the accused, two were not arrested”
According to the schoolgirl’s father, two more individuals were alleged to be involved in the incident – Rajat Shukla and Deepu – but the police are protecting them. So far, the police have arrested only Ranjit Trivedi, Harshvardhan, and Krishna Gupta. Krishna Gupta and Harshvardhan were released on bail on May 6. A report released by the police notes that currently, no arrests are pending.
Matter raised in Vidha Sabha
Bahujan Samaj Party’s MLC Bhim Rao Ambedkar while describing the matter in detail in the Vidhan Sabha, pointed to many questions about the negligence displayed by the police.
Talk of filing a case against the police and taking them to court
Azad Samaj Party’s national president Chandrashekhar Azad met the family members of the victim on May 26. He said that, in this whole matter, a comment made by a Dalit professor in Delhi leads to first an FIR being slapped on him and then an investigation starts. But in the case of this minor Dalit girl, the police first appears to conduct a perfunctory investigation, and later an FIR is registered. The Bhim Army Chief while stating his objections said that how the law can be used in two ways. The government is oppressing Dalits, oppressing the deprived communities. While expressing anger over the negligence shown by the police, he spoke of hauling the guilty police officials into court.
Senior officials evading making comments on the negligence shown by the police personnel
The Mooknayak contacted Lucknow’s Commissioner D.K. Thakur in regard to the negligence of the local area police in the matter. The PRO [Public Relations Officer] said he was occupied in a meeting. Later we were able to talk to the Police Commissioner D.K. Thakur on WhatsApp. While saying that he would need to get the information from the zonal officer, theCommissioner also appeared to be dodging discussing the matter. When we called ADCP North [Additional Commissioner of Police North] Prachi Singh in regard to the matter, she did not pick up the phone. We then contacted ADCP Prachi on WhatsApp. She too remained mute on the question of action being taken against the guilty police officials in regard to the incident.
[Story Translated By Lotika Singha]