Araria: A civil court in Bihar’s Araria district has sent a 22-year-old ‘gang rape survivor’ and two women social activists to jail on charges of ‘misbehaviour’ and obstructing proceedings of the court.Also Read - BJP’s West Bengal Poll Campaign Film Enacts Rape Scene, Report Sought After Video Goes Viral
The woman, who works as a cook and is illiterate, was allegedly gang-raped on July 6, following which she filed a complaint the next day with Araria women police station. When she was asked to sign her statement by the magistrate, she raised her voice and demanded the presence of social workers and insisted that one of the activists first read it out to her.
It is also reported that the outburst followed after the rape survivor had spent three hours in the court complex in close proximity to an accomplice of her alleged rapists.
However, failing to understand the survivor’s mental state, the court sent all 3 of them to judicial custody for causing a disruption in the working of the court.
“While recording their statement, the accused trio insulted the presiding officer by misbehaving with him and tried to obstruct the proceedings of the court. The survivor refused to sign the written statement saying that she would not sign until Kalyani and Tanmay have read it,” the FIR against them said, as per the Print.
“It is true that she got very agitated and upset in court and refused to sign the statement, but she had been in a state of trauma for four days,” said Kamayani Swami, a social worker said.
Lawyers come out in support
Lawyers from across the country have now come together to denounce her arrest. In a letter to the chief justice and other judges of the Patna High Court, 376 advocates voiced concern over the manner in which the 3 women were remanded to judicial custody.
The letter, signatories to which include luminaries like Indira Jaisingh, Prashant Bhushan and Vrinda Grover, expressed dismay that when the victim appeared before the magistrate on July 10, the latter took her disoriented state of mind as a personal affront.
”It was the fourth day since the incident of gang- rape. The survivor was completely distraught and disoriented and totally dependent, emotionally, on her caregivers who were also exhausted looking after her. We respectfully submit that any perceived disrespect must be viewed from this perspective”, the letter said.
Terming the judicial custody awarded to the survivor and her caregivers excessive and harsh, the letter said the formers extremely fragile emotional state and separation from her caregivers and incarceration will have an adverse effect on her health.
“The survivor was well within her rights to ask for a confidant. The court mistook her agitation as a personal affront. The focus seems to have shifted from the rape case to the misbehaviour allegations on the survivor. We have full faith in the judiciary and are looking for legal remedies,” Ashish Ranjan, Secretary, Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan told The Indian Express.
Meanwhile, the lawyers in their letter also alleged that while reporting the matter local dailies ended up divulging details of the victim and that no COVID test was conducted even though she was raped by several strangers.
(With PTI inputs)