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Bihar's Nirbhaya? Not quite. Motihari gang rape never took place

Abhishek Parashar | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:49 IST

The incident

  • A girl was allegedly gang raped earlier this week in Motihari. She has been labelled Bihar\'s Nirbhaya
  • But there\'s more to the case than meets the eye

The evidence

  • The medical examination shows no signs of rape
  • Even the victim\'s initial statements did not mention rape

More in the story

  • The sequence of events
  • Rape or physical assault? What do the investigators have to say?

Several questions are being raised over the veracity of the alleged gang rape in Bihar's Motihari district. The case is being termed as the 'Nirbhaya' episode of Bihar and seen as yet another proof of the deteriorating law and order situation in the state.

The girl is a resident of the Ramgarhwa area of Motihari. Local media reports suggest she was allegedly gang-raped by six men after her mother went to the house of one of the main accused Samiullah to protest against the molestation attempt on his part.

The victim's family says the girl was molested when she was going to defecate in the field. Samiullah also allegedly made a video of the incident.

Also read: Bihar: Girl brutally gang-raped in Motihari

According to the accusations levelled by the victim's family, the protestations of girl's mother infuriated Samiullah. He came to the victim's house with five other men of his family, dragged her out of the house and gang-raped her. The accused also allegedly forced a homemade gun into girl's private parts.

While Samiullah surrendered before the police on Friday, the victim is recuperating in the district hospital. She is said to be 'out of danger' now.

However, a ground investigation by Catch indicates there is more to the case than meets the eye.

"There are no marks on the victim's body suggesting rape. She does not suffer from internal injuries," claims Dr Prashant Kumar, Civil Surgeon, Motihari.

There are no marks on the victim's body suggesting rape - Dr Prashant Kumar, civil surgeon, Motihari

Kumar argues that gang-rape victims don't normally heal within a week or 10 days. According to him, the victim had come to the hospital in 'normal condition' and walked on her own feet. She complained only of pain in the stomach and backache, according to Kumar.

Senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi had remarked that the victim was fighting for her life and the police had failed to nab the culprits.

"There seems to be no substance to the gang rape theory. Local media have hyped the issue on the basis of just one statement. It did not bother to verify other facts. A case, where no rape took place at all, has been publicised as the 'Nirbhaya' episode of Bihar," claims a junior doctor at the Motihari Sadar Hospital, on the condition of anonymity.

Also read: First high-profile abduction after Bihar polls: Is jungle-raj back?

Motihari SP Jitendra Rana believes it is merely a case of physical assault. He says both the families are neighbours and belong to a poor background. There is not much difference between the social influence of the two. Rana also dismisses the allegations that the crime was committed to prove the domination of one family over the other.

The investigation

The investigation conducted by the Ramgarhwa police suggests that Samiullah tried to rape the girl on 13 June. However, the girl cut his private part with a blade in her defence. An injured Samiullah fled the scene.

On 15 June, he returned with family members and roughed up the girl as well as her other relatives. The police arrived at the scene after getting the information and sent the girl for medical examination.

The in-charge of Ramgarhwa police station Rajesh Prasad says, "Neither the girl nor her relatives complained about the rape at the time of the medical examination. Although, the girl did say that Samiullah had tried to rape her and she had attacked his private part with a blade."

Prasad confirms the police had registered a case of rape attempt, molestation and physical assault Samiullah and five others on 15 June. Apart from Samiullah, his father is also a co-accused in the case. While Samiullah is under the police custody, the other five accused are still absconding.

The police claims the victim had not alleged rape even once during her medical examination. The victim went to the local hospital at Ramgarhwa, three days after the incident. She was apparently suffering from pain in stomach and requested the doctors to refer her to the Motihari Sadar Hospital.

The girl was admitted to the Motihari Sadar Hospital on 18 June. She changed her statement on the following day (19 June), claiming gang rape by Samiullah and the other co-accused.

"A father and a son cannot rape a woman together. Although, it is not a hard and fast rule, but I have seen many incidents in which charges are slapped against the whole family to bolster the case. However, most such cases fall flat after investigation," says a police officer, who has worked in Motihari police station.

Motihari SP Jitendra Rana also questions the allegations of rape. "The rape has not been proved in the medical examination. Yet, we are searching the five absconding accused," he informs.

The rape claim was further refuted during the medical examination at Sadar Hospital on 20 June. Dr Kumar categorically states, "there was no rape in this case".

The call records of Samiullah and the victim have established that both used to have conversations for quite some time.

Samiullah was married five years ago. But, it broke down after some days. He has remarried about six months ago. Samiullah and the victim had fought over this issue, a few days before the incident, if the police is to be believed. According to Ramgarhwa SHO, Samiullah has confessed that he was having an affair with the girl.

One police officer alleges the victim changed her statement on the advice of a local female NGO worker. This social activist is said to be a lawyer by profession.

"She has a habit of jumping into such controversial issues for publicity. She is instigating the girl in this case as well," alleges a lawyer at Motihari court.

Nevertheless, the episode has assumed a political colour. The BJP has declared it will raise the issue in the state assembly. Senior party leader Sushil Kumar Modi has sought an explanation from the government. Meanwhile, the district administration has announced the formation of a medical board for the examination of the victim. Its report is eagerly awaited.

Also read: Here's why Lalu-Rabri era is known as jungle-raj in Bihar

First published: 25 June 2016, 7:09 IST
Abhishek Parashar @abhishekiimc

Chief Sub-editor at Catch Hindi. He has been associated with Press Trust of India, Business Standard and The Economic Times.