The article is republished from Hindustan Times, Jan 30, 2017.
Bhopal: Umang Singhar, Congress MLA from Dhar district’s Gandhwani assembly segment on Monday alleged that police gang raped four tribal women belonging to Bhil tribe in two villages of his constituency on January 25 and ransacked properties of many villagers during a raid conducted to catch some criminals.
Singhar, who addressed a press conference here, had also brought four tribal women along with him.
Speaking to reporters, the four tribal women alleged that on the morning of the January 25, police entered their houses and raped them.
Another five tribal women who had also come to Bhopal with the MLA, also alleged that they were harassed by the police.
A Bhil tribal woman told media persons that a cop entered her house on the morning of January 25, snatched her baby and threw it away. “Phir usney mere saath galat kaam kiya. (Then he raped me)”, she said.
Singhar said there were 25 to 30 criminal elements in the two villages-Butiya and Holibadya-in his assembly segment.
“Around 6 am on January 25, nearly 150 plus strong police force raided the village to catch the criminals. They hurled tear gas shells on the villagers, ransacked their properties, broke utensils in the houses, mixed pesticide with the grains and raped four Bhil tribal women and misbehaved with other womenfolk in the village. Some of the cops were drunk”, he alleged.
Singhar said the police also seized 10 bikes and two tractors of the villagers, claiming they had been stolen.
“We have the documents to show that these bikes and tractors were those of the villagers and not stolen at all”, he said.
Singhar said just because there were some criminal elements in the village, the police had no right to punish the whole village and rape women.
“On the same day, we approached the local police to file an FIR against the police, but they didn’t do so. We took the women for a medical checkup to the Dhar district hospital, where doctors refused to form a panel for a medical examination. Somehow I managed to get them examined by a lady doctor”, he said.
Singhar said finally on Sunday the police registered a case of gang rape against unknown persons in the incident. “Our demand is that a case be filed against the accused cops, a high level judicial probe be ordered be ordered into the incident, collector and SP of the district be immediately transferred and villagers be compensated for ransacking of their properties”, he said.
What police has to say?
When contacted, Birendra Kumar Singh, superintendent of police (SP) Dhar rubbished the allegations.
“The fact is that Butiya village is home to habitual criminals and they had warrants against 143 criminals in the village. We raided the village on January 25 and seized some bikes and two tractors on the suspicion they had been stolen. Whenever police raids this village, they attack the police. So they are levelling these serious charges to exert pressure on police so that we don’t enter their village in future”, he said.
On why police lodged a case against unknown persons for the alleged gang rape of four tribal women, Singh said as the women themselves lodged the complaint and it was of a serious nature, they registered the case.
“I have constituted a probe team headed by a Dy SP, which will investigate this incident”, he said
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