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Girl Commits Suicide After Alleged Police Inaction In Sexual Harassment Case

| Updated: June 27, 2024 12:28

“Had the police acted on our complaints, my daughter would not have taken her own life,” said a distraught Urmila Kumari (name changed). On June 23, at around 6 pm, her 16-year-old daughter, a class 10 student, took her own life by hanging, allegedly because she was troubled by the police inaction against two men who had been sexually harassing her for months in the outdoors.

To rub salt on the wounds of the family, who hail from a poor background and a backward caste in the Chitrakoot district of Uttar Pradesh, when Urmila and her husband went to the police station after their daughter’s suicide, the men in uniform allegedly thrashed them and misbehaved with them.

“After she died, we went to the police with all the other previous complaints, but they didn’t even read them. They beat us … it was like one of those big village fights where people attack others ruthlessly. They even locked up my husband,” Urmila alleged, speaking to The Wire from her village in Mau, Chitrakoot.

She alleged that when she went to report her daughter’s death, the police accused her of trying to falsely implicate the two men she had blamed.

“They said, ‘You must have killed her and are here to falsely implicate others’. ‘Will I implicate someone falsely just because you are saying it?’, the policeman told us. Now, who will kill their own child?”, asked Urmila.

The police also snatched her phone when she was checking it to see who was calling her, she alleged.

On the evening of June 23, Urmila lodged a complaint against two men from her village, accusing them of sexually harassing her daughter.

The two men, who also belong to the same Nishad OBC community as the victim’s family, would often harass her whenever she would step out in the village or to go to her college in neighbouring Prayagraj.

The Wire is not naming the two accused as we cannot ascertain if they are majors or minors.

The family said they approached the police on three occasions with written complaints but no action was taken.

The FIR was lodged against the two accused persons under Indian Penal Code section 306 (abetment of suicide). In the FIR, Urmila said that her daughter was forced to take her own life due to the continued harassment by the two men, who are also brothers.

The accused men would block the girl’s path with their cycles, alleged Urmila. She also claimed that after her applications to the nearest police station did not bear any result, she even sent a letter to the district police chief through the registry, but even that did not help their cause.

Chitrakoot superintendent of police Arun Kumar Singh said one of the accused men had been arrested. He studied with the girl in the same institution, said the officer.

Singh said that the concerned station house officer (SHO) had been suspended and disciplinary action would be taken against him after it was found in a preliminary probe that the SHO and his staff did not behave in the “expected dignified manner” with the victim’s side as they should have.

The police are probing the other allegations levelled by the family.

Urmila told mediapersons that the police had failed to take action even after her daughter had given a statement to the local police.

“She was a sharp and clever girl, who would always cheer anyone up with her words. I wonder what distress she must have gone through to take such a step,” an inconsolable Urmila told The Wire.

She believes her daughter felt the family was helpless as even the police had failed to take action on her complaints. “A day before she died, the accused had threatened her near the fields,” said Urmila.

Anil Pradhan, the Samajwadi Party MLA who flagged the incident to the media, said it was “unfortunate” that the family, who had just lost their daughter, was beaten up by the police in the police station.

“They were beaten up when they had gone there to get justice! The police scolded them and tore the papers they had taken along with themselves,” said Pradhan.

The MLA demanded that an investigation be held into why the local police did not act on the girl’s complaints.

Amar Ujala quoted the suspended police officer, Ajit Pandey, as saying that one of the accused men was in a relationship with the girl and that regarding this, the parents of both sides had come to the police station over a compromise in February, as the girl’s family was not happy with her decision.

The police officer said the girl took her own life as she was distraught after her parents scolded her for keeping in touch with the boy.

Urmila, however, dismissed this story. She claimed that the boy had been relentlessly harassing her daughter. “My girl had nothing to do with him,” she said.

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