The case of a 22-year-old rape survivor who was turned away by two police stations in Punjab's Mohali hours after the sexual assault has been taken up by the National Commission for Women (NCW). A police officer has been suspended in this connection.
According to police, the rape survivor - a call centre employee - was offered a lift by a taxi driver at Mohali's sector 68 on Monday morning. Soon after she had entered, the driver locked the doors of the car and drove her to a secluded place, where she was allegedly raped over a period of 90 minutes. The woman was threatened with dire consequences if she raised the alarm.
The taxi driver let her out only when the woman claimed that she was feeling nauseous, and she took the opportunity to escape. Her ordeal, however, was far from over.
The panicked woman contacted the Mohali police control room, which - in turn - informed the Sohna police station. A Sohna police team visited the crime scene, but concluded that the woman would be better off approaching the Sector 68 police because she had boarded the taxi from an area falling under their jurisdiction.
In the end, no complaint was filed by officers from either station. It was only when senior officers intervened that Sohna police registered a case. The Sohna station house officer has been suspended for dereliction of duty, and a hunt launched for the accused on the basis of a sketch.
In a letter to Director General of Police (Punjab) Dinkar Gupta, the NCW accused the local police of "apathy" and "negligence" despite the provision of zero FIR by the law. "Considering the gravity of the matter, it is requested that strict action be taken against erring officials and a detailed action-taken report be sent to the commission at an early date," it read.
Zero FIR mandates police stations across the country to register complaints irrespective of jurisdictional area.
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