Smoke, Mirrors & Gokulpuri

Police atrocities, manhandled do-gooders, a missing rape victim. The facts behind the AAP-Delhi Police face off.

ByArpita Seth
Smoke, Mirrors & Gokulpuri
  • whatsapp
  • copy

Gokulpuri is a suburb in northeast Delhi. It’s been in the news lately because of a rape which occurred in the locality. Of course, news of the rape has been lost in the dust of the police brutality claims which have followed the incident.

What took place? Based on news reports, a newly-married couple from Bihar en route to Punjab stopped over in Delhi. Four people offered them shelter. They then confined the couple for two to four days and raped the woman repeatedly during this period. The husband was beaten up. When the alleged rapists freed the victims, the victims were told to leave Delhi immediately. The couple took an auto-rickshaw, the driver of which overheard the couple’s ordeal and offered to help them. The auto-rickshaw driver turned out to be an Aam Aadmi Party volunteer. He gathered other AAP volunteers and took the victims to the Gokulpuri police station to lodge a First Information Report (FIR). The volunteers were allegedly assaulted and arrested by the police officials at Gokulpuri – according to media reports which quoted Arvind Kejriwal, founder Aam Aadmi Party.

Were these media reports accurate? An AAP press release corroborates the media reports and claims that their volunteers were indeed mistreated by the Gokulpuri police officials when they went to lodge the rape victim’s FIR. They claim the police initially refused to register an FIR. Registration of the FIR took place only after the medical examination of the victim confirmed rape. Subsequently, 18 AAP volunteers were arrested and beaten up at the Gokulpuri police station. Even an eight-year old girl, Preeti was arrested and put in the lockup.

Is it legal for the police to arrest a juvenile – that too, one with no criminal record? Last we checked, it wasn’t.

In the first hearing on this case – following the arrest – Justice Jitendar Kumar, the Magistrate at Karkardooma Court, granted bail to the women volunteers. On June 22, 2013 Justice Brajesh Garg granted bail to most of the volunteers.  Following this, Kejriwal called a press meet on June 24, 2013 at the Constitutional Club, Delhi to address police atrocities against AAP party workers.

Excerpts from Arvind Kejriwal’s speech at the press meet

Kejriwal alleges the Magistrate was biased in the case.

The police on their part, according to news reports, claimed that AAP volunteers damaged public property at the police station – which is one of the counts for arresting them.

Sarita Singh, one of the volunteers present at the police station, had a contrasting narrative.

Detailing the police atrocity, Akhilesh Kumar, one of the detainees, alleges to have been offered urine when he asked for water.

Gaurav, another volunteer, gave us an account of how the men were treated in jail.

Somnath Bharati, the lawyer handling the case for AAP shed light on the legal intricacies of the case.

Despite going to the Gokulpuri Police Station to get the police’s point of view, we got no answers. The police claimed innocence on the above allegations and refused to comment on the incident.

The victim of the Gokulpuri rape incident is the only person who can verify the facts. Did the AAP volunteers actually accompany her? Were they mistreated by the police? Unfortunately, she is untraceable. And the Delhi police refuse to come on record to shed any more light on the case.



Press Freedom Fund

Democracy isn't possible without a free press. And the press is unlikely to be free without reportage on the media.As India slides down democratic indicators, we have set up a Press Freedom Fund to examine the media's health and its challenges.
Contribute now


We take comments from subscribers only!  Subscribe now to post comments! 
Already a subscriber?  Login

You may also like