Negligent police must be charged under anti-rape law - activists

Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:31am IST

1 of 2. A protester holds a placard as he stands on top of a police barricade during a protest outside the hospital where a five-year-old girl who was raped and tortured is admitted in New Delhi April 22, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Adnan Abidi

Related Topics

NEW DELHI (TrustLaw) - Delhi police who allegedly delayed the search for a 5-year-old girl after she was abducted, raped and tortured in the capital must be arrested and charged with dereliction of duty under the country's new anti-rape law, women's rights activists said on Monday.

The girl - who was kidnapped on April 15, held in captivity near her home in New Delhi and raped by a neighbour - was found two days later and is currently recovering from her injuries in hospital. Two men have been arrested.

But the crime has sparked public anger against law enforcement authorities following allegations police officers tried to bribe the victim's family with 2,000 rupees not to file a case and after video footage showed another officer slapping a female demonstrator.

Three policemen have been suspended but women's rights activists, students groups and opposition political parties who protested for the fourth day have demanded the resignation of Delhi's police commissioner as well as action against local police officers.

"We are asking for stiff punishment for the policemen responsible, not for suspensions, inquiries and transfers," said Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the All India Progressive Women Association.

"Not registering a sex offence as part of dereliction of duty is now a criminal offence under the new law and slapping someone and bribery to suppress a case are also crimes."

Women's rights experts and lawyers say rape victims in India endure an archaic, poorly funded, under-resourced and insensitive criminal justice system that fails to care for victims and deliver justice.

NO RESIGNATION

Police often try to dissuade victims from complaining and suggest a "compromise" between the victim and the perpetrator, largely because of their insensitivity to sex crimes, but also because local police officials are rarely held accountable.

Public outrage over the fatal gang rape of a woman in New Delhi in December forced the government into passing a new, tougher law to punish sex crimes and hold police and hospital authorities more responsible. This includes sentences of up to two years in jail for police officials if they fail to register a complaint.

Activists said the rape of the young girl could have been prevented had the police responded quickly to the complaint made by her parents and started a search for her immediately.

"Clearly it is a case where dereliction of duty on the part of the police has cost this child tremendously in terms of her safety and the harm that has been done to her," said Krishnan, adding that the Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar also had to be held responsible.

Kumar told a news conference on Monday that he had taken action against three officers because "prima facie, there were shortfalls in the reaction of the staff at the police station," adding he would "make an example of the erring police officers."

However, he refused growing calls for his own resignation.

"If my resigning will prevent such depraved actions of society, then I am prepared to resign a thousand times, but that is not going to address the problem."

"The problem is one of mental depravity, the problem is one of psychopathy, the problem is one of mental sickness and that will not be sorted out by anyone resigning, least of the leader of a police force."

(TrustLaw is a free legal news site run by Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters. Visit trust.org/trustlaw. For more information on the TrustWomen Conference visit trustwomenconf.com)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Telangana Accident

TOP SHOWCASE

Wipro Results

Wipro Results

Wipro sees strong sales growth, eyes Europe deals .  Full Article 

Plane Crash in Mali

Plane Crash in Mali

Wreckage of Air Algerie plane carrying 116 people found in Mali   Full Article 

India-WTO Row

India-WTO Row

India blocks WTO deal on customs rules as deadline nears  Full Article 

India Insight

India Insight

Markandey Katju: Ex-India Supreme Court judge stirs the pot.  Full Article 

Iraq's New President

Iraq's New President

Iraq elects president as Ban urges unity to save nation.  Full Article 

No 'Fire' Here

No 'Fire' Here

Amazon's smartphone fails to kindle a "Fire" among reviewers.  Full Article 

Gaza Shelling

Gaza Shelling

At least 15 dead in Israeli shelling of Gaza school - Health Ministry.  Full Article 

No Result Yet

No Result Yet

Afghan vote recount moves at snail's pace, rival sides far apart.  Full Article 

Film Festival

Film Festival

Venice film festival to kick off with black comedy "Birdman".  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage