Dalit girl's alleged rape kicks up political storm

Vikram Jit Singh

Dhaippi village (Mansa), April 9: THE alleged rape of a 13-year-old Dalit girl has kicked up a storm here. Knives and swords were unsheathed just a week ago in this village off the road to Mansa. They have been put away now, but the anger lingers.

And for the girl, the trauma as well. A month ago, her 60-year-old employer allegedly raped her. ''He raped me once; his son twice. Their wives were either away or were drunk,'' she said calmly. The employer's son is an SDO with the PSEB at Bathinda.

''Day and night, they would come to the place where I slept. I gave in finally. I told myself it would perhaps reduce the loan my mother owes the man.'' The mother, who had borrowed Rs 15,000, has apparently settled for a compromise. The girl continued: ''After raping, he promised to get me married and waive the loan.

''To pacify me, he gave me two of his wife's gold bangles. When she found out, he said I stole them. The two bangles were in my house. I had given them to mother.''

The Dalit Sena, however, has decided not to let things die down easily. It staged a protest rally at Mansa on Saturday and submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister for a probe. The Sena alleged that the Bhikkhi station house officer (SHO) hushed up the case.

Birdevender Singh Sandhu, SHO, however, said the case was never referred to him. ''I have heard about the compromise. Unless a report is lodged, how can I take action,'' he said.

Pragatisheel Istri Sabha too has demanded that a rape complaint be lodged with the police.

In fact, the mother had rushed with the girl to the Bhikkhi police station to lodge a rape complaint when the employer's wife pressed theft charges. But the panchayat stepped in and the case was hushed up. The mother too withdrew her complaint and the employer waived the loan.

The employer has his explanation ready. ''The charges are concocted. The girl's family has loose morals. She used to steal things. She stole money, a watch, two gold bangles and a necklace.

''When the controversy broke out, villagers told me to waive the loan. So I did to avoid the girl's family from blackmailing us.''

The controversy, he said, is his estranged brother's handiwork. The brother allegedly ''ganged up with a few comrades (communists)'' in the village and incited the girl and her family to make false rape charges.

Even the mother denies anything having ever happened. She has issued an affidavit denying a conversation in which she and her daughter charged the employer with rape.

In her one-room hovel, the mother explained why. ''We have struck a razinamma (compromise) with the landlord with the panchayat's support. What more do you want to know? The matter is finished.''

Referred by:Balram Sampla
Published on: April 16, 2001
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