Manipuri women allege sexual assault, police apathyDecember 18th, 2008 - 5:52 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Dec 18 (IANS) They didn’t conceal their faces or refuse to come in front of the camera. But for the two young northeastern women who were allegedly sexually harassed and beaten up by their landlord in their rented apartment in Gurgaon, it was difficult to recount the horrors of that night without choking with emotion.At a press conference in the capital Thursday, Mary and Daisy - both from Manipur - recounted how their landlord along with two other men molested them and beat them until they were seriously bruised all over - on their very first day in the DLF Phase-1 apartment.
“The incident happened on the night of Dec 12 but I still shudder to think what I and my friend had to go through. I can’t close my eyes at night for fear that there will be a bang on the door threatening to repeat the nightmare,” Mary said haltingly, in her broken English.
“It was our first day in the room and we went to sleep at around 10.30 p.m. At about 2 a.m., we heard a loud bang on the door with a male voice - that of the landlord’s - telling us to open up. Despite our repeated pleas to him to come the next morning, he kept threatening and even broke the window… scared we dialled the police helpline number 100 thrice, but to no avail,” Daisy said.
What followed then was a flurry of events - three men asking for sexual favours from the girls, on refusing which they were beaten with sticks and then molested. One of them, Mary, managed to escape, but Daisy could not. The men then vent their anger on Daisy.
“The men kept repeating ‘I will rape you’ and used other abusive words in the local dialect which I did not understand. After what seemed like eternity, the police arrived and we were taken to the Shri Ram Memorial hospital where I was admitted but Mary was not because we were not carrying any money.
“But what shocked us more than anything else was the callousness of the police. The senior inspector refused to write down that we were sexually harassed saying that otherwise the First Information Report (FIR) will not be registered,” Daisy said.
The women added that later they found most of their belongings missing from their room - like a digital camera, money and the like.
“There was not even a woman police officer to assist us. We demanded that the men be booked under the sections of IPC for offences of molestation, sexual assault and under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. But that was not done and those men are still roaming freely while we don’t have a roof over our heads and are staying with one friend or the other,” Daisy added.
Lansinglu Rongmei, advocate and a member of the Northeast Support Centre, who has been helping the girls said that this is not the first time that girls from the northeast have been ill treated by landlords.
“But there is another issue which we want to highlight here - that of the indifferent attitude of the police and their failure to do their duty and protect an innocent person,” Rongmei told IANS.
“We have now written to the National Commission for Women (NCW) and hope to get their support for the sake of victims like Mary and Daisy,” she added.