UP: 13-Year-Old Dies by Suicide After Gang-Rape; Family Alleges Police Inaction, Coercion

New Delhi: A 13-year-old died by suicide on October 5 in Kandipur village of Uttar Pradesh’s Ambedkar Nagar district, two weeks after she was gang-raped, allegedly by men who police are yet to identify.

Her family has alleged police inaction and coercion in the case of her abduction and rape, telling reporters that it led her to take her life.

The Station House Officer of the police station was removed and the investigating officer suspended for alleged negligence, Indian Express has reported.

Police have arrested two people connected with her abduction, including the girl’s aunt. However, police are yet to identify the two men who allegedly abducted her on September 16 and gang-raped her at a hotel in Lucknow. The girl returned home and spoke to family members of having escaped from her captors, her relatives said. Lucknow is at a distance of over 200 km from Kandipur.

A family member told Express that “nobody paid heed” even though they reported the incident to the police. He added that a policeman “used to come and enquire about what had happened.”

The Navbharat Times has reported that the minor girl would “get reprimanded by police”. The report quoted the deceased girl’s father as having said that police was also pressuring them to “compromise.”

A report by Amar Ujala quotes her father as having said that the police were initially unwilling to pay attention to the girl’s statement noting that she recognised a person who allegedly signalled at her abductors and that he was acquainted with her aunt. As noted above, the aunt was eventually arrested.

This report says that the father noted that frequent visits were made by police to their house in an attempt to convince the girl to not reveal the name of the “mastermind.”

In video and written statements, Ambedkar Nagar Superintendent of Police Ajit Kumar Sinha said police first registered a case under Section 363 (kidnapping) of the Indian Penal Code.

After the girl returned home, police said, they conducted her medical examination and recorded her statement, in which she said that two unidentified men her raped her.

Sections pertaining to gang-rape and those under the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act were then added to the FIR, the SP said.

The Print had reported that women in Uttar Pradesh have faced the maximum crimes in the country in 2021, according to a National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

Several mainstream media outlets quoted the same report as establishing that Uttar Pradesh had recorded a ‘decline’ in crimes such as rape and those targeting children in 2021. The state ranked 23rd in rape with 2,845 cases, 28th in crime against children with 16,838 cases and 36th in kidnapping for ransom with 50 cases, India Today said.

If you know someone – friend or family member – at risk of suicide, please reach out to them. The Suicide Prevention India Foundation maintains a list of telephone numbers (www.spif.in/seek-help/) they can call to speak in confidence. You could also refer or accompany them to the nearest hospital.

Featured image: Representative image of Uttar Pradesh police. Photo: PTI

This article was first published on The Wire.