Mysuru gang rape case: Govt, police have “miserably failed,” alleges Siddaramaiah

PTI, Sep 22, 2021, 4:49 PM IST

Mysuru: Leader of Opposition in Karnataka Siddaramaiah on Wednesday came down heavily on the conduct of Mysuru police and the state government regarding the recent gang-rape incident, and alleged that they have ”miserably failed” and were not serious about the inhuman incident.

Initiating the debate on the Mysuru gang rape case, in the legislative assembly, the senior Congress leader, also accused Home Minister Araga Jnanendra of taking the whole incident ”very casually”.

A college girl was allegedly raped by six men near Chamundi Hills in Mysuru on August 24, while her male friend was assaulted.

Police have arrested six accused in connection with the case.

Pointing out that Mysuru is a cultural city, famous tourism center, and an education hub, Siddaramaiah said such incidents of gang rape in the city will have an impact on the tourism, parents of the students studying there and will put a black spot on its cultural identity.

”People are scared after the gang-rape incident and parents of the students studying in Mysuru are a worried lot,” he said.

Noting that the spot where the gang rape took place was not a deserted or a forest area, the former Chief Minister who hails from the district, said there is a ring road at the distance of 300-400 meters from there, also there is a locality called Lalitaadripura nearby.

He said during his visit to the spot about a week after the incident, Mysuru Police Commissioner told him that crime incidents have taken place there earlier too. ”When police were aware that criminal activities were happening there, why did they stop beat and other patrolling measures?” he asked.

The nearby police station is about 2 km away from the crime spot and has 60 staff members and a Garuda patrolling vehicle, he added.

Pointing out that there is 545-acre area around the place where the incident took place, Siddaramaaih said police are unaware as to whom the place belongs to, despite it coming under their jurisdiction. ”What kind of policing are they doing? This shows their alertness.” There is no proper patrolling by the police, despite police being aware that criminal incidents were taking place in the city, he said as he pointed out that in a span of 30 days, 16 extortions, murders, rape of a 12-year-old girl, bank robbery and shoot out incidents have taken place in Mysuru city.

”What are the police for? Isn’t controlling crime their duty? Punishing the perpetrators is their duty. There should be fear of police,” he said, highlighting that the six accused who have been arrested are habitual offenders and from Tamil Nadu.

Listing out the details of the incident, Siddaramaiah said the private hospital where the victim and her male friend got admitted, after examining and confirming about the rape, sent a report to the police stating that it was Medico-legal case (MLC).

Alleging that there was a 14-15 hours gap between hospital reporting a MLC and registering an FIR, he asked ”why was there a delay? Why was the case first registered under section 354 (a) of IPC (sexual harassment) and only after protest by people and Congress workers it was changed to 376 (d) and 397 IPC? Did the police have plans to shut the case? Who was behind it?” Hitting out at the police for delay in registering an FIR, the Congress leader equated the case to the Nirbhaya case in Delhi and a similar case in Telangana, and said but police still took it ”lightly”.

Police have not gone by the Justice J S Verma committee report according to which the victim should have been shifted to government hospital, officers also did not ensure that she got necessary counselling and help through ‘Santwana Kendras. ”It was mandatory on part of the police to go by committee report.” Observing that the victim was discharged on August 27 and her male friend on August 26, Siddaramaiah said police have not taken the victim’s statement after giving her a counselling or did record her statement before the Magistrate, and let her go to Mumbai with her family.

Intervening at this point, Health Minister Sudhakar sought to know if the victim could have cooperated with the police after what she had gone through. ”Rape could have caused a big shock to the victim, but the following inquiry and legal process is another kind of rape on the women or victim.” At this point, the CM said the victim was now in Mysuru and has recorded her statement before the magistrate.

”The victim and her family were given counselling on that day also…today she had given her statement before the magistrate and our police have been successful in giving her counselling, despite her going to Mumbai and getting her statement,” he said.

Suggesting that if the police had conducted regular patrolling the incident wouldn’t have occurred, the LoP said, it is a failure on part of the police and delay in filing FIR is a defect in the investigation.

He said a separate FIR was not filed regarding the assault on the victim’s male friend. ”Is it not lapse on part of the police?” Taking a dig at Home Minister Araga Jnanendra, Siddaramaiah said he visited Mysuru subsequently, but first visited Chamundi hill and offered prayers there, then attended a police academy event and gave a shooting pose there and while coming back visited the spot. ”This indicates how serious he is.” Jnanendra however sought to clarify that he had held meetings twice with officers on the issue, before attending the pre scheduled police academy event, and also several legal experts had advised him not to visit the spot, but he still visited.

Claiming that the government and the police were not serious about the inhuman incident of gang rape and took it lightly, Siddaramaiah said, ”You have arrested the accused, I have no complaint on that, but have you conducted the identification parade of the accused before the victim and her male fried?….police have miserably failed.

According to Mysuru police commissioner, for 15 lakh population in Mysuru city there was only 3000 police men, ”there should be regular patrolling and beat by police after recent crime in city. Instead of patrolling they go to liquor shops for collection. They have brought bad name to Mysuru city.” Siddaramaiah then referring to the Home Minister’s statement after the incident that victim and her male friend should not have gone to the deserted place at dark, took strong exception to it and reminded Mahatma Gandhi’s statement that women should be able to walk freely even at mid night.

Though Jnanendra tried to clarify on his intention behind his statement, it received flak from opposition benches.

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