New Delhi: A 13 year-old-girl was gagged and brutally gang-raped by four men in the national capital on September 28. But for her, the humiliation did not end there.
The gang-rape survivor's family alleges that Bhagwan Singh, the Station House Officer (SHO) of a local police station, made her strip and touched her inappropriately when she went to complain. He allegedly asked the minor to "show" how she was raped.
The rape survivor alleges the SHO told her that she was imagining things and that her complaint was bogus. She says he did not file a complaint against all the accused and forced her to give a false statement in front of the magistrate, even threatening to kill her family if she gave any other statement.
The SHO of the west Delhi police station has been suspended, pending enquiry.
"We have taken immediate action and the DCP Vigilance is looking into it personally," said Ranveer Singh, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) West.
But the police also claim that female counsellors were present in the room when the girl came to file her complaint and they have rejected these charges against the SHO.
"To our knowledge we don't know if the SHO has had a meeting with the victim," said Magdalene Mary, an NGO worker.
After a physiotherapy intern was brutally gang-raped on board a moving bus on December 16, the Delhi Police started sensitisation drives twice a month to make its force more sensitive to rape survivors. These sessions are to be attended by policemen during their basic, refresher and promotional training. But despite that, a lot seems to have fallen through the cracks.
"Changes in the mindset of a senior police officer, but at the SHO level, no. The moment they will say this is gender sensitisation, half the class will sleep," says Rishi Kant, from the NGO Shakti Vahini.
The Delhi Police has already filed over a thousand cases of rape in the first eight months, a record high in 13 years. Part of this is because post last December, the force wants to appear more women-friendly and file cases as and when complaints come in. But will it take more than just sensitisation classes and registering cases to drive home the message?