Goa Police in dock for not registering woman's complaint of serial sexual assaults

Goa Police in dock for not registering woman's complaint of serial sexual assaults
Goa Police in dock for not registering woman's complaint of serial sexual assaults
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Mayabhushan Nagvenkar (IANS) | The News Minute | September 26, 2014 | 01:52 pm IST

Panaji: Months after being exposed for not registering an offence after a woman complained of sexual torture, Goa Police are now in the dock for turning away a woman after she complained that her husband raped her daughter, mother and sister earlier this month.

A women right's group and the opposition have now demanded action.

Police finally arrested the 30-year-old accused only after Bailancho Saad, a women's rights group, intervened earlier this month. A senior officer now claims the laxity angle is being probed, but also claims there are allegations that the woman's mother had tried selling her grandchild in the past.

While the accused is now behind bars, the account of the complainant and how the police treated her sexual assault complaints, as narrated by a leading woman activist, who facilitated the registration of FIR, is chilling.

"The accused's wife sells flowers for a living. The family was in living hell. In her complaint she has told the police about the multiple rapes on her kin. He has even raped the complainant's mother, who is 65-years-old, many times," Sabina Martins, convener of the women's group, told IANS.

The series of rape and sexual assault started after the complainant, her husband and two children, moved into a house in a Mapusa, 15 km from Panaji, where her mother, sister and daughter were already staying.

"Whenever she refused to pay up, he would not only beat her up, he would also threaten to rape her mother and sister," a woman police officer associated with the investigation said.

According to the statements recorded, the accused raped his mother in-law in the forested area at Dhargal, located 35 km from Panaji some months back. When he brought her back home in the evening, he raped her again.

"The mother-in-law said she did not complain for months (about her rape) fearing the accused would break off the marriage with her daughter. He has also raped his sister-in-law on several occasions," the officer said, adding that the accused also raped his sister-in-law, who is mentally disabled, on several occasions.

According to the victim's interlocutor Martins, she was turned away by officers of the Mapusa police station, where the police recorded the serial sexual assaults as a non-cognizable complaint and also advised her to "settle" her domestic dispute with her husband.

"The first time she approached the police only a non-cognisable case was filed by the police, who dismissed the sexual assaults as domestic violence and asked the complainant to settle the issues with her husband," Martins told IANS.

Martins further claimed that on Sep 16, she was also turned away from the women's police station, which was started more than a decade ago especially to look into crimes against women.

When she telephoned 100, after her husband threatened to rape again, the complainant was asked to report to the local police station the next day, Martins further alleged.

While Martins has sought accountability from the police, who have tried to ignore a serious crime against women, the Congress has demanded action against the in-charge of the Mapusa police station for dereliction of duty.

"It is clearly visible that the police department has stopped working in the state and is not bothered about serving the citizens," Congress spokesperson Durgadas Kamat has said in a complaint to Director General of Police T.N. Mohan, seeking action against the officer.

In June, the Mapusa police were also accused of trying to sweep under the carpet a case in which a woman accused her neighbour of stuffing chilli powder into her private parts. A First Information Report was filed only after a public outcry.

The failure of the police to file a sexual assault complaint comes in direct defiance of a diktat by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who told the monsoon session of the Goa assembly last month that his government had "zero tolerance" to crime against women. Parrikar had also assured that action would be taken against officers who refuse to register FIRs in sexual assault cases.

Superintendent of Police (Crime) Kartik Kashyap said that an inquiry had been initiated into the delay in registering the offence.

"We are investigating the case for rape," Kashyap told IANS, adding that the daughter, when questioned in the past, had denied being raped by her father.

The officer, however, also said that he had also come across allegations that the mother-in-law in the past had attempted to sell her grand-daughter.

(Note: The names of the accused and the complainant have not been mentioned because this could reveal the identity of the victims)

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