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INDIAN SOCIAL REALITIES

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Victim of stripping moves court

Taken from:
Hindustan Times, September 17, 1994.

A 26-year-old woman, who was stripped at gun point inside Khyala police post, has appealed to the High Court to order registration of criminal cases against the accused police officials and to hand over the investigation of the case to the CBI.

Her counsel Arun Kapil told the court that Inspector O. P. Yadav in charge of Khyala police post in west Delhi, had ordered his junior, head constable Rajinder, to strip Santosh who had come to the police post to inquire about her neighbors. The alleged incident took place on Aug. 28. Santosh was in her first floor room in JJ Colony, Khyala, when she heard a commotion in her house. When she came downstairs, she saw a dozen policemen throwing her landlord Bachchulal's household goods out on the streets. She also saw the policemen slapping Bachchulal's wife Om Wati and her children. They were later taken to the police post.

Santosh followed them to the police post and asked the officials why were they beating up the family. Inspector Yadav, according to the petition, angry and told her to shut up. He also abused her. inspector then asked head constable Rajinder to bring Santosh inside the police post room. "Nangi kar de sali ko," he reportedly told his junior. As the head constable stepped forward to carry out the orders, Santosh shrieked for help. On this, inspector Yadav reportedly pointed a revolver at her and told her to sto.

Santosh says she was so terrified that she obliged and sat down on the floor with her head on her knees. At this point, Om Wati, on hearing Santosh's cries, peeped inside the room. "I saw that she was sitting on the floor. Her head was between her knees nd she was covering herself with her hands. She was naked," said Om Wati in her sworn affidavit filed before the court. Om Wati then covered Santosh with her pallu and reprimanded the head constable: "Yeh apne kya kar diya." The inspector and his junior went out of the room. Santosh dressed up. "But she kept crying," said Om Wati. "I consoled her. After some time we were sent to the lock-up at police station Tilak Nagar where we were kept till the afternoon of Aug. 29. I came to know that we had been arrested in a case of theft."

Santosh's counsel Arun Kapil said she was arrested and charged under Section 4UV380/506 IPC falsely. She has been roped in simply because she dared to protest against the high-handedness of the inspector and his junior. He said Santosh has nothing to do with the controversy surrounding the ownership of a room in which a disputed temple was located. Police officials denied these allegations and said Santosh and others were arrested in a theft case.

Mr. Arun Kapil said the Folice have so far refused to register a cast against the accused police officials. He urged the court to transfer the case to an independent agency as "the interested Delhi Police would not brine out the truth in their investigation." "The double standards of the Delhi Police are amply demonstrated by the fact that when the Secretary in the Ministry of Food and Civil Supplies was beaten up by the police, all the senior officers reached the police station, seized the daily dairy, registers etc., but when the wife of a poor autonckshaw driver is disrobed in a police post, they don't even consider it necessary to launch a formal investigation," the counsel said.

He sought the court's directions to register an FIR under Sections 354/506/34 IPC against the police officials and transfer the case to the CBI. The High Court has issued showcase notices to the pop (west) and Tilak Nagar SHO, returnable on Oct. 3.

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