Witness in gang-rape, suicide of Dalit woman attacked

Jaipur: In December last year, a 30-year-old Dalit woman, a mother of two boys, committed suicide after her family was repeatedly threatened by two men who barged into her home in July and gang-raped her.
Last week, the prime witness in the case, her relative, was attacked. The family has been facing threats from people close to the two men accused of raping her – Tan Singh and Lakh Singh. The incident occurred at Booth Rathodon, Chohtan, Barmer district.

Dalit rights activist Suman Devathiya said, “The woman met the SP twice before she committed suicide. She had informed him of repeated threats and sought protection for her family. We know that witnesses too have been repeatedly waylaid and threatened. On March 15, the prime witness in the case, Narendra, a relative of the woman, who had come to the rescue after hearing her screams on that day, was set upon by a mob and thrashed. He had blood stains on his clothes after the assault. If the police delays action, we perceive a threat to his life.”

The woman too had initially resisted when she was threatened. But fearful of the safety of her family and under pressure from escalating threats, she ended her life by jumping into a water tank on December 11, five months after she was raped.

The accused in the gang-rape and those named in the FIR registered after the assault on Narendra are all Rajputs. A case has been registered under IPC sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 323 (causing hurt) after the assault on the witness.

Dalit rights activists met senior police officers to ensure that the guilty are arrested soon.
When queried, Barmer SP Gagandeep Singla said, “The men accused of rape have been arrested. The matter of the suicide is being probed.”
ADG (crime) Pankaj Singh said, “Security is offered only when an application is sent through the intelligence branch and the government approves it.”

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