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Dalit worker alleges rape by IIMC clerk on campus

Soumya Shankar | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 5:57 IST
QUICK PILL

Capital shame

  • A Dalit employee at IIMC alleges she was raped by a clerk on campus
  • The accused raped her repeatedly and threatened her to keep quiet, she alleges

More in the story

  • How powerful people tried to shut the case up
  • What is the status of the case now

The Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) may be in the eye of another storm. A Dalit worker has alleged that she was raped by a clerk at India's premier journalism school.

The woman, who works as a contractual labourer at the IIMC, said she was raped by Sagar Rana, a lower-division clerk working there, on 15 August last year.

Rana apparently first called her to his house on the pretext of shopping for grocery for his grandmother. He then raped her, filmed her and threatened to put the video on the Internet, if she didn't keep mum, the complainant alleged.

That was not all. Rana raped her twice after this at his official accommodation on campus, she alleged. Once he even tried to etch his name on her wrist with a knife, she claimed.

After this, the woman confided in her husband and approached the police. An FIR was registered in October and the accused was taken into custody.

The complainant's husband has been employed on contract for the last 12 years by the IIMC, which is under the Union Ministry for Information and Broadcasting.

He said Rana's father is the driver of the Secretary in the I & B Ministry and has been employed in that position for 14 years. Rana's relatives threatened and intimidated the couple to withdraw the complaint.

"He is a powerful man in IIMC who throws his weight around with lower grade employees. That day, when the complaint was registered, Rana's father turned up at the police station with 10 relatives and a member of the IIMC staff," the rape survivor's husband said.

"They threatened me outside the police station, asking me to withdraw the complaint. His relatives suggested a 'compromise' many times and offered me money. He then called Anurag Mishra, IIMC's Officer on Special Duty, and handed over the phone to me. The OSD then asked me to withdraw the complaint, saying it is a 'college matter' and we should sort it out within the institute. I said no."

According to the victim , she was intimidated and forced to change her statement from rape to molestation at the Patiala House Courts the next day. "Ten people with a lawyer surrounded us and said 'people get murdered in such cases, withdraw your complaint'. Since we did not have a lawyer and didn't know what to do, I changed my statement."

Rana was sent to Tihar jail and remained there from 18 to 22 October and was released thereafter. No charge sheet was filed until last month. Although he was transferred to the Dhenkenal campus, his transfer order was revoked and he continues to work at the Delhi campus.

According to the couple, they still get threats from Rana's aides, many of whom allegedly are within the administration.

"Two-three people within the administration have asked me repeatedly to withdraw the complaint against this man as he is very powerful. Rana himself told me 'you don't know who my father is, I can get away with murder'. I know they are hatching a plan to throw me out of the IIMC. We are poor and unable to deal with the technicalities of the matter, but we want justice," the survivor's husband said.

"Very often, Rana's father would come and shout abuses outside his quarters in IIMC. Ek ek to dekh lenge (we would take each one of you to task), he would say. The quarters itself was given him out of turn. The office has been hand-in-glove with them," said a faculty member who did not wish to be named.

The complainant received fresh threats even as the story was being written.

Rana's father, however, said: "Since the matter is now sub judice, we don't have anything to say. Whatever the court decides, we will comply in full spirit. I have been working at the ministry for 14 years.

"If my son is at fault, let the court give whatever punishment it deems fit. I want to add that I never threatened anybody. People have been harassing me for so long on this matter. If they can prove that me or my son have threatened or harassed them, I can kill myself. Neither have we created any pressure on them nor have we harassed them."

Sunil Arora took his current charge as Secretary I&B five months ago - - much after the alleged incident took place.

"The matter is sub-judice. Whatever is required to be done under the Vishakha guidelines will be done. Additionally, since you've just informed that the victim is alleging harassment, I will set up a high-level enquiry committee headed by a senior female joint sectary of the Ministry to speak to the victim and look into the matter," he said

According to Anurag Mishra, IIMC was in no position to comment on the issue as the matter was sub-judice. "If they felt intimidated, they should have knocked on the doors of the courts," he said.

A few days back, OSD Anurag Mishra was transferred out of IIMC, but continues to officiate in the lack of a replacement. With the Director General's post vacant for five months now, IIMC is practically headless.

Jayshree Jethwani, Chairperson of IIMC's Internal Complaints Committee, said since the victim did not first approach the institute and went to the police, the committee does not have a locus standi in the matter. However, due investigation was done and a report sent to the authorities.

According to the investigating officer of the case, now transferred out of Vasant Kunj Police Station, the charge sheet was filed under Sections 376 (rape), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 323 (threat to violence) of the Indian Penal Code.

The couple, meanwhile, has no information on the charge sheet and still awaits justice.

Edited by Joyjeet Das

First published: 16 March 2016, 11:48 IST
 
Soumya Shankar @shankarmya

A correspondent with Catch, Soumya covers politics, social issues, education, art, culture and cinema. A lamenter and celebrator of the human condition, she hopes to live long enough to witness the next big leap in human evolution or the ultimate alien takeover of the world.

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