All this happened in September 2011. Since then, the woman’s father, junior commanding officer Subedar Akhileshar Kumar Singh, now posted at Danapur Cantonment, has been fighting for justice. His daughter, 26, was married to an Army lance naik, Saket Kumar, now declared a deserter.
The Gaya police have chargesheeted nine people including Saket Kumar for rape, murder and dowry harassment, but not been able to arrest any of them yet. Three people have sought anticipatory bail and the rest are listed as “absconding” in the police diary.
Singh’s family alleges police are too scared to travel to the Naxal-dominated villages of the accused. His wife Urmila Devi, stricken ill by the loss of their daughter and bedridden since, alleges a local politician had put pressure on police “not to arrest anyone”.
When the Army officer met Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at his janta darbar on Monday, senior police officers present there “knew his case very well”. He was sent home with assurances about how serious the police were about his daughter’s case.
It was the second time Singh had met the chief minister. Singh says he and his son Nitesh Singh, 18, have met the Bihar police chief more than 10 times, the Gaya range deputy inspector-general seven times, the Gaya SP 20 times and case’s investigating officer at least 50 times. The family has also written to the Bihar governor, the Union home minister, the Prime Minister and the President.
Nitesh, who is in Class XII, keeps every relevant document in hand when he describes the follow-up to his sister’s death. He says he sees a ray of hope after the nationwide show of support to the victim of the Delhi gangrape.
“My sister suffered no less torture, that too at hands of her husband, in-laws and their friends,” he says. “The filing of a chargesheet and the symbolic confiscation of the property of some of the accused mean nothing to us. How can police justify not arresting anyone since September 2011?”
Nitesh’s sister married Saket in 2005 and they have a son, who is now five. On September 15, 2011, she stepped out her rented house in Gaya town after her husband had phoned, reportedly asking her to receive a relative at Sikaria Chowk. She was found murdered on September 27.
The FIR says she had been harassed by her husband for dowry. He apparently wanted her father to buy him a plot of land. The FIR says he threatened her several times with death. She had been staying with her brothers in the rented house in Gaya for some time.
Besides Saket Kumar, the other eight people named in the police case are Saket’s sister Uttam Sharma and her husband Jitendra Sharma, Saket’s other sisters Sushma and Aarti, parents Ratan Devi and Nawal Sharma, Jitendra Sharma’s driver Satyendra Kumar Singh and the latter’s brother Upendra Kumar Singh. All the men are accused of rape, murder and dowry, and the women of the common intent of crime and dowry harassment.
“Until recently, we received threat calls from Saket Kumar. We have changed our phone numbers now,” Nitesh says. “The local police once asked me to accompany them to the villages of the accused.” Not much has happened since, hesays.
Nitesh has had arguments with several policemen. “My father was even humiliated by a senior police officer, who rebuked the army officer, ‘Aapko aur koi kam nahin hai kya?’ ” (Haven’t you got anything else to do?)
Gaya range DIG N H Khan says the police have done everything possible. “We have filed the chargesheet and the trial will begin soon. We have also confiscated the property of some of the accused,” Khan says, admitting, “It is true that we have not been able to arrest anyone yet.”
About the family’s allegations of police not daring to visit Naxal-dominated villages, the DIG says he can understand the trauma of the family. “We have suspended a police officer for negligence of duty. There is a standing instruction to make arrests,” he says. “There is no political pressure either.”
It's hard to understand for someone like me, living in a Western country, that gangrapers are not punished. They are not arrested. And the death of a woman it's not an important matter in a country like India. In fact, I am sure that thousands of women are killed like this woman in India, each year, but no one cares of them, because... they are women, so an inferior race. I think cows are much more respected in India than women. No one can image a gangrape of a cow, which is after that killed.
The Govt., and Judiciary delaying the process to convict and to execute the ultimate punishment of a death sentence, for further outrage and quenchless outcry of the people for justice.
We have seen so many comments blaming congress but what is happening in Nitish's state. Even her father met him personally, no action has been taken. Kuch nahi ho sakta is desh ka, especially Bihar ka.