Apathy and negligence on part of the Jeevan Bhima Nagar police have now left a 23-year-old Bengaluru techie, who was sexually assaulted twice on the same night, scared and helpless.
The police allegedly ignored the woman's pleas for help and did not even bother to register an FIR the night the incidents occurred. Additionally, one of the constables is said to have let go of an accused who was identified by the survivor's boyfriend that very night.
Despite the assault and multiple injuries that the survivor sustained, the police allegedly did not register an FIR because they were "busy with election duty".
What happened on May 9?
At around 12.00 am on May 9, Sushma*, the owner of a digital marketing and website developing company near HAL, had gone out for dinner at a restaurant on 80 ft road with her boyfriend.
The couple was walking out of Hotel Empire towards their parked two-wheeler, when they were allegedly attacked by four miscreants.
â€śThere were four men who initially pulled my girlfriendâ€™s hair and also groped her near the hip. I was angry and I argued with them and demanded an apology. This argument turned unpleasant and one of the four men punched me and I was disoriented for a few moments due to the blow to my nose. By this time, they had begun manhandling my friend,â€ť says Sushmaâ€™s boyfriend Sunil.
As there were several people outside the restaurant, they gathered around the four men and rescued Sushma. â€śThe people shooed the men away and as a huge crowd had gathered by then, they were also scared. The man who punched me said that he would ensure my destruction. He also hurled abuses at me and my girlfriend before leaving,â€ť Sunil adds.
Sunil and Sushma then rushed to Jeevan Bhima Nagar police station to file a complaint. According to Sunil, there were two constables at the station, but they allegedly refused to register an FIR.
â€śThey told me to write a written complaint, which I did. The Head Constable Shashidhar then told us to go back home. When I asked him why he did not register the FIR, he dismissed us by saying he was too busy on election duty. We waited for a while, hoping that he would help us but that did not happen,â€ť Sunil says.
The couple left and were riding home when a gang of eight men intercepted them near HAL main road. Sunil says that the men had knives, cement sheets and bricks in their hands and threatened to harm them if they did not let go off their possessions.
â€śI gave them all the money I had and then they asked us to get off the bike. Since they had knives, we got down. I told my girlfriend to run while I distracted the men. She began running but there were too many of them. One of them threw a brick on my head and when I fell down, three men held me down. My girlfriend was running away and they threw a brick on her. It hit her back,â€ť Sunil recounts.
Due to the force of the blow, Sushma allegedly fell on the road. However, she managed to get up and began running. At this point, four men allegedly chased her and hit her on the hip with a cement sheet.
â€śShushma fell down once again and the four men descended on her. She was struggling and trying to get away. She got away from the men somehow and was about to run when one of them hit her ankle with the cement sheet once more. She fell down and they began groping her and tearing at her clothes. At this point I too managed to get free and began beating the men. Sushma was covered in blood. Luckily, two men were coming towards us on a bike and they stopped to see what was going on. They immediately called the police. The gang of attackers then ran away as they were scared of being apprehended,â€ť Sunil alleges.
Within minutes, two beat constables from HAL police station arrived at the spot, according to Sunil. Sunil then found that the gang had earlier tried to attack a cab driver, who had gone to fetch the police.
â€śI recounted the whole story to the constables. They took down notes in a book and took my phone number and asked me to wait right there and went away. I could not (do so) as my girlfriend was in pain. I rushed her to the CV Raman Nagar government hospital, where she was treated. I rushed back to meet the constables at the spot. By then, one of the constables had got hold of one of the men who attacked us. I immediately identified him as the man who attacked my girlfriend and told the police that I wanted to file a complaint,â€ť Sunil says.
However, the police allegedly dismissed Sunil's request and told him to come back in the morning. Sunil says that he pleaded with the constables to help them but they allegedly told him to go to the Jeevan Bhima Nagar police station instead.
Feeling helpless and distraught, Sunil returned to the hospital where Sushma was being treated. According to sources in the hospital, Sushma had sustained a fracture to her left ankle and right knee. She has sustained severe bruises on her thighs and also on her hip.
â€śShe also has lacerations on her elbows and the skin on both her palms has been scraped off,â€ť the source added.
Sunil has sustained a wound on his head and a stab wound on his right arm.
â€śWhen I went back to the Jeevan Bhima Nagar Police on May 10 morning, they told me to come back later. I had the medical report and pictures of my girlfriend and also the pictures of the license plates of the bikes the men were riding. I showed it to the head constable but he told me that they were on election duty and asked me to come back later,â€ť Sunil adds.
Despite several attempts to contact the Commissioner of Police, Sunil was unsuccessful. He then wrote a lengthy Facebook post, which caught the attention of the media.
The FIR which was not registered on time
Finally, on May 16, a Sub Inspector from the Jeevan Bhima Nagar police station allegedly called Sunil and asked him about the incident. Sunil once again sent the pictures he had on WhatsApp to the SI. Later that day, DGP Anand Tewari called Sunil to take stock of the situation.
â€śThe DGP told me that I should not have gone to the media with the information. He asked me why I had registered the FIR so late and I explained to him the turn of events. He also told me that action will be taken against the negligent policemen who did not help us,â€ť Sunil adds.
A case was finally registered on May 16 under sections 354A (sexual assault), 398 (assault with a deadly weapon) and 34 (common intention) against the unidentified persons.
Sushma is now recuperating at her hometown in Bihar.
â€śShe is anxious all the time. The slightest noise sets her off and she gets extremely scared. Even a slight knock on the door or a scraping noise makes her scared. She is unable to sleep and has nightmares all the time. Sometimes even when she is awake, she begins screaming and gets very scared,â€ť Sunil says.
When TNM contacted the Jeevan Bhima Nagar police station, the officer on duty, who refused to divulge his name, dismissed the incident by once again stating that on that night (May 9), there was a shortage of staff as many of them had been deployed for election duty.
TNM tried contacting DGP Anand Tewari but could not reach him.
However, Additional Commissioner of Police (East), Seemant Kumar Singh said that the incident had been brought to his notice on Monday and that the incident is being probed.
â€śWe will ensure that action is taken if negligence is proven. Every police officer on duty has to register FIRs if there are crimes committed under their jurisdiction. There is no excuse. They cannot say election duty and not do their job,â€ť he added.
*Name changed to protect identity