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Rape-accused Mumbai teacher on hunger strike to prove innocence

Ashwin Aghor | Updated on: 9 September 2017, 19:47 IST
(File photo)

For the Shuklas, a happy family of four living in Koparkhairne, a suburb of Navi Mumbai, life was moving along at an idyll pace. But all hell broke loose when Harishankar Shukla, a teacher, was arrested in December 2016 for allegedly raping a minor girl.

Since then, Shukla has been languishing in jail. All the while, he has been protesting the charges and claiming that his innocent.

What's more, even though the evidence points to his innocence, the matter has not been expedited.

Shukla has now begun an indefinite hunger strike in Thane Jail.

His wife, Anjali Shukla, has been forced to run from pillar to post in vain. After countless visits to the local police station and government offices, she has now written to the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court, seeking his intervention.

“My husband was teacher at a school in Navi Mumbai. Life was going on smoothly till December last year, when the police arrested him on charges of raping a 13-year-old student. I know my husband is innocent and has been falsely implicated in the crime. There are documentary evidences to prove his innocence,” says Anjali Shukla.


Crime scene investigation

According to the FIR, the victim alleged that Shula raped her in school twice – in April 2016 and August 2016 and threatened to kill her family members if she informed anyone about the incident.

However, the matter came to light in December when the girl underwent a medical check-up that established that she was pregnant. That's when the victim told her family that Shukla had raped her twice. Following the statement, Navi Mumbai police arrested Shukla.

During the course of investigations, Shukla and the victim underwent DNA tests to ascertain if he was biological father of the child.

“The DNA test reports were negative and clearly mentioned that my husband was not father of the child. This was the clinching evidence to prove his innocence. However, the family of the victim demanded a DNA test at a laboratory at Hyderabad, which we readily agreed to. But police have not yet initiated the process to conduct the DNA test at Hyderabad. We are even ready to undergo a narco test to prove innocence," Anjali said.

“If my husband is innocent, according to DNA test, there has to be someone else who is biological father of the child. My only request is that police should find out that person and absolve my husband of the offence,” she added.

When contacted, the investigation officer of the case, inspector Ashok Rajput said: “The DNA test was in reference to the rape in August 2016. Shukla had raped the girl earlier in April 2016. His bail has been rejected by the Sessions Court and High Court. I cannot comment further on the matter since it is pending in the court.”

However, he could not answer why the police is not trying to find out who the biological father of the child is.

However, the prosecution rejected the DNA test report. When Shukla applied for bail the prosecution opposed it saying that the test needs to be redone at Hyderabad. But so far, no such test has been conducted.

“I am not asking for anything, but to conduct a DNA test at whichever laboratory they want. My two children and I are going through lot of trauma ever since my husband was arrested. We are facing financial problems as well as he was the only earning member of the family. In the letter written to the Chief Justice, I have only asked to expedite the investigations so that the matter reaches its logical end soon,” Anjali said.

First published: 9 September 2017, 19:47 IST