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dna exclusive: Activist who led protests against December 16 Delhi gang-rape falls victim herself

Wednesday, 18 December 2013 - 8:11am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

  • Manit Balmiki dna

A year after the brutal December 16, 2012 gang rape, one of those who was at India Gate and led the protests from the front, has herself become a victim of sexual assault. The 25-year-old girl, who had taken lathi blows and had witnessed the wounding of late constable Subhash Tomar is today fighting for justice.

The woman alleges that she was raped by Khurshid Anwar, executive director of Institute for Social Justice (ISJ). The police have registered a rape case under sections 376 and 328 of the IPC.

The rape survivor was a student of Delhi university. She always remained at the forefront of the Delhi protests with the gang rape incident marking a turning point in her life. Later, she volunteered with an NGO, which is funded by ISJ, and went to Uttarakhand to help those left ravaged by the floods.

In the three-hour-long testimony that she recorded with Madhu Kishwar of Manushi, she stated that after returning from Uttarakhand, on September 12, she went to a party hosted by Anwar at his residence. “The girl said that she consumed alcohol after which she vomited and felt giddy. Anwar then offered her his bedroom to sleep. When the others left after the party, the victim was sleeping in Anwar’s bedroom. It was then that Anwar raped her,” said Kishwar.

Kishwar says in the testimony that some of the others had volunteered to stay back to look after the victim, but Anwar told them that he did not need assistance and could take care of her.

The girl says the next day when she reported the matter to her bosses, they discouraged her from undergoing a medical examination. “The girl said that they washed her clothes to destroy the evidence,” Kishwar said. That the NGO is funded by the Institute for Social Justice could have been a reason why the NGO did not want to make a complaint, Kishwar said.

Kishwar recorded the girl’s testimony on September 19, six days after the incident. The girl does not belong to Delhi and comes from a lower economic strata. “She told me that her mother was unwell and she needed finances to support her. Because of activism, she also messed up her studies and was not keen on registering a complaint,” said Kishwar, who added that it was her friends who insisted that she record her testimony. “She agreed as we promised her that Manushi would not intervene until she wanted it to,” said Kishwar.

While the girl went back to take care of her ailing mother, her friends and co-volunteers who were associated with the NGO approached the National Commission for Women (NCW) to get a complaint registered. “We have gone through the CD, her testimony; and the versions of other friends clearly indicate that the girl had been raped,” said Nirmala Samant, a NCW member.

The commission has written to Delhi’s commissioner of police to register a complaint. “We wrote to the police on December 14 to investigate the matter. We have asked them to reply in four days time and are yet to hear from them,” Samant said. Khurshid Anwar remained unavailable for comment despite several calls to his office.

“We have registered a case of rape under sections 376 and 328 of the IPC. The victim is out of Delhi. We have contacted her and asked her to record a statement. She has named the accused and also the NGO she was working with. After she records her statement and undergoes medical examination, we will call other people she has named in the complaint,” a senior police official, who is supervising the case told dna.

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