At around 12 pm on May 16, Nitya, 32, ran from her in-laws’ house in Northwest Delhi’s Rohini area. “The moment I got a chance, I took my son’s hand and ran," she said. "I couldn’t take it anymore."
As soon as she reached her parents’ house, a few kilometres away, she went to the Begumpur police station and alleged that she had been raped repeatedly over the last two years at her in-laws. Based on her complaint, an FIR was lodged against her husband, brother-in-law, father-in-law and mother-in-law under penal code sections related to rape, unnatural sex, and causing harm.
Nitya is married to , which has organised events such as the featuring hatemongers Yati Narsinghanand and Suresh Chavhanke of Sudarshan News. Singh is out on bail in a case of hate speech he had delivered at an event at in August last year.
Singh and his father Sunder Pal are absconding, said investigating officer Meenakshi Singh, adding that the police were in the process of issuing arrest warrants for them. “We have not been able to question anyone yet since we have not been able to reach them,” she said. “I will make sure they join the investigation and all of them will definitely be questioned.” She said that Singh’s brother Yogender and mother Hemlatha secured anticipatory bail on May 25.
Nitya’s medical examination has been conducted and her statement recorded. The preliminary report stated that the patient was “not willing” for an internal medical examination, but it pointed to aberrations on her arms, forearms, chest, and back. The examiner reserved his opinion pending forensic reports.
‘They beat me each time I said no’
Preet Singh married Nitya in 2009 but walked out of the marriage when she was eight months pregnant in 2013. “He said he didn’t want me anymore,” said Nitya, who continued to live with her in-laws, adding that her husband filed for divorce last December.
Nitya alleged that for the past three years, she has not been allowed to go to her parents or speak to neighbours.
According to Nitya, when the Covid lockdown began last year, Singh began visiting home again in April. “That’s when he started forcing himself on me,” Nitya told Newslaundry, saying that she assumed it was her husband’s right and kept quiet.
A few weeks later, he brought his friend along one night. “They sent my son out of the room. Preet stayed in the room while his friend also raped me,” she alleged.
Not long afterwards, Nitya alleged, every time she went to the terrace to put out clothes to dry, her father-in-law would follow her. “He knew Preet was bringing his friend so I guess he assumed that he too could take advantage of me,” she alleged, adding that he sexually assaulted her at least once a week while Singh and his friend did so every few months.
Seeing all of this, Singh’s younger brother Yogender also began raping her, Nitya alleged. This particular allegation, however, is not in the statement she gave to the Begumpur police.
“In the rush to record her statement, she forgot to mention that Yogender Singh used to rape her too and only mentioned that he beat her with a belt,” said Raghuvir Saran, her lawyer. He said that Singh’s mother and Yogender have got anticipatory bail.
Nitya said she resisted the attempts. “They would beat me every time I said no," she said. "Yogender was the worst. He would lock me in the room and beat me with a belt.”
Three months ago, Nitya’s 11-year-old son noticed the marks on her body and asked about them in front of her mother-in-law. “My mother-in-law, who knew about everything, threatened us with a knife and said that if we ever told anyone, she would kill my son,” she alleged.
That’s when Nitya decided to confide in her sister, who is married to Preet Singh’s older brother Jeet Singh and lived in the same house. “I did not know anything because all of this used to happen at night when I was asleep in the room with my children and husband or it would happen on the terrace when Nitya was alone,” claimed Nisha.
Nisha said she never let her sister go anywhere alone. “When I told my husband what was happening, he slapped me and said we wouldn't talk about it again.”
Leaving home, filing the case
On May 16, when Nitya decided to run, she did not tell her sister. “I got scared that she’s left me here alone but I know she had to escape,” said Nisha.
Nitya said had she not escaped when she could, “I would not have come out of that house alive. I could not take it anymore.”
Nitya alleged that in the last 10 days, she has received threats from Singh’s friends, pressuring her to withdraw the case. “They come on bikes," she said. "I don’t go alone anywhere now. I don’t let my son out of my sight either. I’m so scared for my sister.”
Singh’s phone has been switched off all this while.
Arvind Kumar Tyagi, the general secretary of Save India Foundation, picked up the phone but refused to speak about Singh. Neeraj Chauhan, an advocate who works with the Save India Foundation, too chose not to respond.
For close to seven years after Singh had left his wife and parents, he barely returned, his brother Jeet told Newslaundry last month. “What can we do if he wants to continue being crazy? We have tried talking to him but he won’t listen.”
A month ago, when Newslaundry met Preet Singh for , he wouldn't even acknowledge that he had been married. He was “never meant to lead a normal life”, he had said, and “can’t be tied down by family and relationships”.
Some names, including the victim's, have been changed to protect identities.
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