In her FIR, the survivor had alleged that when she reported the alleged sexual assault to the authorities at the Air Force College in Coimbatore, she was subjected to the two-finger test at the medical examination.

Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhary speaks during a press conferenceAir Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhary
news Crime Tuesday, October 05, 2021 - 13:23

The Indian Air Force has denied that a two-finger test was conducted on the survivor in the Coimbatore rape case, in which Flight Lieutenant Amitesh Harmukh has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman officer. Responding to a media question, IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari said on Tuesday, October 5, that it was “misreported” that the woman was subjected to a two-finger test. However, the survivor in her FIR had stated that she was subjected to the banned test when she reported the case to her superiors in the Indian Air Force.

“The IAF law is very strict on any such incident,” Chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari said. “The two-finger test conducted on a woman officer is misreported. No two-finger test was not done. We're well aware of the rules and all due action would be taken,” he said. He added that disciplinary action will be taken based on the report of the inquiry. 

Last week, the case, in which Amitesh Harmukh has been charged with sexual assault of a woman colleague, was handed over to the IAF for court martial, following a local court direction. The Additional Mahila Court in Chennai directed the police to hand over the sensitive case involving the Flight Lieutenant at the Air Force Administrative College to the IAF, after it had filed a petition seeking his transfer citing jurisdiction. The survivor in the case had asked for a police investigation, alleging pressure and intimidation from her superiors. 

The 28-year old female Air Force officer had levelled serious charges against the IAF authorities, including subjecting her to a banned finger test and also forcing her to withdraw the complaint against the accused Flight Lieutenant.

In her FIR, the survivor had alleged that when she reported the alleged sexual assault to the authorities at the Air Force College in Coimbatore, she was subjected to the two-finger test at the medical examination. She was also allegedly asked about her sexual history. The two-finger test was banned after the Criminal Amendment Act of 2013. The test is an unscientific and outdated method to ascertain sexual assault based on the laxity of the vaginal muscles, to figure out if the woman is sexually active. However, a person’s sexual history has nothing to do with their sexual assault.

Also read: Two-finger test done, intimidated: Rape survivor’s grim allegations against Air Force

The survivor – a flight lieutenant at the college – had alleged that her peer, Amitesh, had sexually assaulted her on the intervening night of September 9 and September 10, 2021. After she sustained an injury, she was given painkillers and was drowsy and unwell. Her friends put her to bed, after which Amitesh allegedly came into her room and attempted to wake her up several times, despite the survivor telling him to leave. The complaint states that the survivor realized she had been sexually assaulted after her friend who put her to bed woke her up the next day, and told her some things she had seen, and based on the physical evidence. 

Apart from the assault itself, the survivor has made serious allegations against the IAF personnel whom she reported the assault to. She said in the complaint that she was intimidated and harassed to dissuade her from filing an official complaint. She withdrew her complaint to the IAF initially due to the harassment, however, later decided to go to the police after finding the Air Force College authorities hostile. However, despite allegations of intimidation from the IAF officials at the college, the Judicial Magistrate Court in Coimbatore on September 30 granted the IAF custody of Amitesh, allowing the Air Force to conduct an inquiry through Court Martial.

Also read: Women’s Commission condemns IAF docs who allegedly did 2-finger test on rape survivor

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