One person has been arrested and four detained after a 38-year-old woman was allegedly abducted and gangraped in Ghaziabad four days ago.
The woman works as a nurse at a government hospital in Delhi. She is married with two children. She went missing on October 16 and was allegedly found inside a gunny bag on October 18, her hands and feet tied and her mouth gagged. A medical examination confirmed sexual assault and a “foreign object inserted inside the private parts”. She’s currently being treated at Delhi’s Guru Teg Bahadur hospital.
However, the police on October 20 alleged that the woman’s allegations are “fabricated”. (See update at the end of this report.)
The FIR, based on a complaint from the woman’s brother, pieces together what happened. It was filed at Nandgram police station on October 18, and the brother included details as told to him by his sister.
According to the complaint, the woman attended her brother’s birthday party in Ghaziabad on October 16. She left at 9.30 pm for her home in Nand Nagri; her brother said she headed towards the Nandgram highway to catch an auto rickshaw. At 11.30 pm, the brother received a phone call from the woman’s son, saying she hadn’t come home yet.
The police told Newslaundry that at around 3 am on October 18, the police helpline, 112, logged a phone call from a passerby saying the woman had allegedly been found inside a gunny bag. The brother only subsequently found out what had happened to his sister since she left his home.
The complaint quoted the woman as saying she had been waiting for an auto on the night of October 16 at Ashram Road. She alleged she was forced into a Scorpio vehicle at gunpoint. Four men were inside the vehicle, she said, while a fifth joined them at an unknown location where she was allegedly gangraped.
She said she recognised all five men and named them to the police after she was found.
The police named the five accused in the FIR: Dinu, Shahrukh, Javed, Dhola and Aurangzeb, alias Zaheer. Javed and Shahrukh are brothers. The FIR is filed under penal charges including gangrape and punishment for wrongful confinement. Shahrukh has been arrested so far, according to Ghaziabad superintendent of police Nipun Agarwal. Four relatives of one of the accused – Agarwal declined to specify whose relatives – have been detained too.
Police sources told Newslaundry they are also probing a “property dispute” purportedly involving Javed, Shahrukh, Dinu and the woman’s friend. It’s unclear how the woman is linked to this alleged “dispute” but the police said they are presently investigating her friend’s role.
Meanwhile, Dr Rajat Jham, a spokesperson at the Guru Teg Bahadur hospital, issued a press release on October 19 stating the woman’s “present vitals” are “stable” and that “no internal injury has been found till now”.
Jham told Newslaundry there are “external injuries” but refused to comment on the nature of the “foreign object” allegedly used to sexually assault the woman. The police told Newslaundry the object “seems like a tongue cleaner”, while Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal told the media yesterday that it was an “iron rod”. While mentioning the details of the gunny bag too, Maliwal compared the incident to the 2012 Delhi gangrape and issued a notice to the Ghaziabad police.
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The woman’s family was unavailable for comment. The brother’s neighbour, who lives in the same building, remembered the woman “coming on a Scooty and stopping to ask if we were doing well”. “We had no inkling that she had gone missing,” the neighbour said. “It was only when the police came asking that we came to know what had happened.”
Update on October 21
On October 20, Praveen Kumar, the inspector-general of Meerut range, addressed a press conference where he said the woman’s allegations of gangrape and confinement were “fabricated” over a “property dispute”.
This property dispute, he alleged, was between the accused and the woman.
“The mobile of a friend of the woman had been switched off soon after the incident,” Kumar said, “and a vehicle used to drop her at the spot belonged to one of his accomplices.” The police have now arrested the woman’s friend, Azaad, and two other persons named Gaurav and Afzal.
But the woman maintains that she told the truth. In a video statement from the hospital, and shared with this reporter by her brother, she said, “The five accused I have named are the only ones involved. Please don’t spread rumours. This is my appeal with folded hands to the police.”
This story was updated on October 21 with further details on the police investigation.
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