Rapes During Jat Stir At Murthal? Conflicting Claims By Eyewitnesses

Murthal: Conflicting statements from eyewitnesses and no complaint of sexual assault so far has deepened the mystery over allegations that women were pulled out of cars and gang-raped at Haryana's Murthal, 50 kms from Delhi, during the violent Jat quota protests a week ago.

A truck driver claimed yesterday that he saw dozens of women being dragged to a field near Murthal, but said he didn't know if they were sexually assaulted.

"I saw almost 50 women. They were being taken to the farms. I didn't see what was done with them," he told news agency ANI.

Now another truck driver has said he saw women being dragged to field near the highway. He also said he could not lodge a police complaint as he was thrashed by the protesters.

Innerwear scattered on the highway near Murthal and the account narrated by these truck drivers gives a chilling face to reports that women were raped near this popular pit-stop for travelers. But the police say despite the government's appeal, no one has come forward to lodge any complaint yet.

They also claim that CCTV footage from various establishments along the highway does not show much to back the reports. "The CCTV footage doesn't show much. We have publicly announced that the identity of those who give us any information will not be revealed," a senior police official said.

Adding to the mystery, some eyewitnesses have also claimed that innerwear were thrown on the highway by protesters who looted a garment shop. "After looting a garment shop, they threw women's clothes all across the road," a man has reportedly informed the police.

Three women police officers tasked with receiving any rape complaint during the protests visited Murthal yesterday. Innerwear found on the highway have been sent for forensic tests.

At the peak of the agitation near Murthal, many people are said to have taken shelter at nearby villages of Hassanpur and Karora. But the sarpanch here says none of them complained of sexual assault.

"Some people came here to hide after their cars were torched. We gave them first aid, shelter and food. But no one complained about sexual assault," he said.