Shanti* is scared of stepping out of her house, and yet staying indoors isn’t any better. Her own house brings back memories of the trauma she faced for nine days, when she was drugged and raped by nine men. She cannot sleep now, but staying awake, too, is frightening.
Shanti was raped inside her maternal home for nine days, allegedly by nine men who barged into her house over the days. The incident took place in Gardolli village located in Haliyal taluk of Uttara Kannada district, from February 25 to March 6.
The accused have been identified as Fayaz Mysorewale (23), Haroon Sarkavas (22), Sadiq Khan (25), Alif Syed (22), Jameel Desai( 26), Illiyas Ankolekar (22), Nasrollah Khan (23), Sadiq Bagewadi and Niyaz.
“The medical reports confirm that the victim was sexually assaulted. All the accused have been booked under sections 376D (gang rape), 354A (sexual harassment), 448 (house trespass), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC,” Haliyal police says.
“On the night of February 25, I was waiting for a bus on Gardolli Road. My house is outside the village. A man named Fayaz offered to give me a ride while I was waiting at the bus stop. He dropped me till my house and I didn’t realise he had followed me to my doorstep. When I was about to lock the door, he pushed it open and entered my house,” says Shanti.
Shanti, whose husband and parents are dead, lives in the house with her two children, who were away at her brother’s house when the incident happened.
A scared Shanti tried to fight back, but Fayaz overpowered her. “He sexually assaulted me and when he left, I was in extreme pain. The next day, at around 1pm I think, two more men came inside my house and they stuffed cake into my mouth and forced me to eat it,” Shanti recounts.
The cake was laced with drugs, says Shanti, and soon she partially lost consciousness. “I knew what was happening but I did not have the strength to even shout. I wanted to but I could not. The two men also sexually assaulted me. After that, on different days, different men came in and sexually assaulted me,” she says.
“The men would come in and one of them would always have a knife. They would threaten to slit my throat,” Shanti recounts.
On the afternoon of March 6, when two men entered her house, Shanti knew she had to save herself. “I was too exhausted to even wake up but I knew they were going to come for me so I screamed for help and some of the villagers came in and helped me. They were beaten up by the villagers,” Shanti adds.
The villagers handed over the two men to the Haliyal Police on March 6. The police nabbed six others a day after the incident, and on Wednesday, another accused was also nabbed.