In a shocking example of victim-blaming echoing the existing prejudices against women in the country, a National Commission for Women (NCW) member has said that the rape-murder of the 50-year-old anganwadi worker in Uttar Pradesh’s Budaun could have been avoided if she had not ventured out in the evening.
NCW member Chandramukhi Devi made the remark on Thursday after meeting the family members of the victim, allegedly gang-raped and murdered by a temple priest and two others, who were arrested in a late night crackdown by the police. She later withdrew her remark, saying it was taken out of context.
“I tell women again and again that they should never go out at odd hours under anyone’s influence,” reports quoted her as saying. “I feel if she had not gone out in the evening or was accompanied by any child of the family, perhaps this incident could have been avoided,” said Devi.
No I don't..I don't know how and why the member has said this but women have all the right move on their will whenever and wherever they want to. It's society and state's duty to make places safe for women. https://t.co/WlG2DWs20G
— Rekha Sharma (@sharmarekha) January 7, 2021
NCW chief Rekha Sharma distanced herself from Devi’s remark saying “women have the right to move on their will whenever and wherever they want to.”
‘Dissatisfied with role of police’
The NCW team also expressed dissatisfaction over the police action in the case after Devi, who arrived here on Wednesday night, met officials and took stock of the action taken in this connection. She met the family members of the deceased in their village.
On Sunday, the 50-year-old woman who had gone to a temple was found dead under mysterious circumstances. She was allegedly gangraped and abandoned outside her house, and she died at the hospital due to excessive bleeding. Her family members have accused a temple priest and his aides of raping and murdering her, and a case has been registered in this connection.
Following her visit, Chandramukhi Devi said she was not satisfied with the role of the police and “had timely action been taken, perhaps the life of the victim could have been saved.”
“The SSP has told me that the woman was found in an unconscious state and had she got treatment, her life could have been saved. The FIR was filed late and the post mortem examination was also done much later,” she said, adding, the autopsy report explains the incident was “most sickening and unfortunate”.
SSP Sankalp Sharma had on Wednesday said the autopsy report has confirmed rape and there are injuries in the victim’s private parts and a fracture in her leg. The station house officer of Ughaiti police station has been suspended for laxity in the case, he had said.
Devi said the incident was “most heinous and strict action should be taken. The government is very serious on these matters and yet such incidents take place.” She said the victim was earning the livelihood of her family, adding, the culprits had planned the action as they had called her to the temple through a phone call.
“Suspending a station officer is not enough. I have told the SSP no one involved should be spared under pressure,” Devi said. She said such incidents are taking place despite campaigns like ‘beti bachao-beti padhao’ and ‘mission Shakti’ as criminals have no fear of police, and people’s faith will be restored only when action is taken against criminals.
Meanwhile, another incident of rape was reported from Budaun, in which a 14-year-old girl was allegedly raped in a village under the Civil Lines area, according to the police.
(With inputs from agencies)