‘They Threatened Us to Agree to a Compromise’

[Cases like this are common in Bundelkhand, where violence, and more so gender and caste-based violence, is so deeply embedded in the social and cultural fabric, that it is almost invisible. Disputes are regularly responded to with violence, more often than not acted out on women’s bodies, and these are ‘settled’ between male parties for money or favours. Reporting on these silenced cases rarely appears in the local press, especially from the perspective of the women involved, who are ensnared in a web of social and economic factors.]

Banda district, Mahua Block, Makri village, and Kamasin block, Lakhipur village.

Women from here have been raped by men of the village. Cases have been filed in the police station, under Section 376 of the IPC [punishment for rape], but the perpetrators are putting pressure on the women to withdraw the case. The lives of the women are at risk.

A woman from Makri village said, ‘My husband went to Banda for work on 2 June 2013, and never came back at night. That night, Kallu’s son Shivmangal broke into the house. He showed me his pistol, and he raped me. I called my husband and we went to file a report in the Khurhand checkpost, but the constable there refused to write the report, he just reprimanded me and told me to leave. Then I took the report to the DIG. On his word, the report was filed two months later, in Girwan police station.’

The constable at Khurhand checkpost, Mathura Prasad Chaibe, said that this case had been filed in Girwan police station on 23 July 2013. A case of rape had been filed and on investigation, the case had been found to be false.

In a similar case, a woman from Lakhipur village told us, ‘A man called Dhanraj raped me on 31 May 2013. Dhanraj is the pradhan of the village. Dhanraj’s son Santosh, Raja Bhaiya and another person from the village, Shivbalak’s son Jagdish broke into my house at 1 in the morning. There were two other people who I couldn’t recognise. In total, five men held my husband down and Dhanraj raped me. They also took money and jewelry from the house. We filed the FIR in Kamasin police station on 3 June 2013. The accused is still roaming free. He is threatening us to agree to withdraw our complaint, else he will kill us. On 27 August 2013 we gave an application to the SP in desperate search for justice.’

The officer in charge at the Kamasin police station said that a case of rape had been registered. The matter has been taken to the court and investigation will take place.