[AI] Shiv Sunny reports in detail: "They offered chocolates while trying to lure me into jhuggi, says visually-impaired woman raped in Delhi"

avinash shahi shahi88avinash at gmail.com
Mon May 7 02:01:50 EDT 2018

Seated on the same old abandoned cart from which she was dragged into
a jhuggi and allegedly
gang-raped on Friday,
a 20-year-old visually impaired woman shuffled between tears and anger
while recalling her ordeal on Sunday.
“Everyone here knows I cannot see. But those men thought I am mentally
challenged as well. Chotu Pal (the arrested accused) first offered me
and biscuits while trying to lure me into a jhuggi,” the victim said,
grinding her teeth.

“My mother had instructed me never to listen to strangers. While my
mother was going to fetch water, she had told me not to move from the
spot, so I refused
to accompany Chotu Pal (the arrested suspect) when he tried to lure me
with eatables,” she said.

“Chotu Pal then threatened to beat me if I did not accompany him. I
realised that he was not going to offer me any eatables and refused to
listen to him.
He then caught me by my arm and dragged me into the jhuggi before
immediately covering my mouth with his hands to prevent me from
screaming,” she recounted.

Friday morning was the first time her mother had left her alone at
home ever since she could remember. Like every morning, the aged woman
would fetch water
from a nearby restaurant in a neighbourhood near central Delhi’s Karol
Bagh. The slum where the young woman lives with her mother and uncle
has neither
water supply, nor public toilets.
“I know my daughter is under constant threat. So, I have always taken
her along with me, be it for fetching water or going to toilet (in the
open). I don’t
remember leaving her alone ever,” said the mother.

The mother of the victim had become even more cautious ever since her
jhuggi was razed in a blaze last October. “Until then, my jhuggi had a
door and my
daughter was safer. But after the fire, I couldn’t gather enough money
to get a door fixed,” said the woman who collects scraps for a living.

Speaking to Hindustan Times on Sunday, the mother regretted leaving
her daughter at home for 30 minutes during which the crime took place.
“It was hot
and I did not want to take my daughter in the heat. It was the first
time I had left her alone. I think those men had been waiting for
long, but were unable
to find an opportunity,” said the mother.

Youngest of five siblings, the victim had lost sight in both her eyes
soon after she turned five. She had studied up to Class 4. “She was
finding it difficult
to study without sight. She couldn’t pass her Class 4 exams and
dropped out of school,” said the mother.

The police have so far arrested Chotu Pal and detained two of his
accomplices on suspicion that they were guarding the crime scene.
While the victim recounted
being gang-raped by two to three men, MS Randhawa, deputy commissioner
of police (central), said she told her counsellor in her statement
that there was
only one rapist while two men stood guard outside.

Avinash Shahi
Doctoral student at Centre for Law and Governance JNU

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