NEW DELHI: Sudha Sundararaman, general secretary of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) in a report says that many Muslim women were raped during riots in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh state.
A six-member team of AIDWA released the fact-finding report after visiting riot victims in Muzaffarnagar on October 5.
At an interaction with mediapersons, AIDWA also presented male relatives of five Muslim women who were raped in their villages after riots erupted on September 8.
A 60-year-old man relived the horror of discovering his daughter-in-law raped by Jat men when she tried to flee. Rioters killed his uncle. To escape the rioters, the family fled the village.
“While fleeing, my daughter-in-law got separated from us and lost her way in a sugarcane field. Next day, when we came looking for her she had been raped by our Jat neighbours,” he said.
Another man in his 30s was in tears as he recounted how six Jat men dragged his wife to a jungle near their village and gangraped her. That was not the end of her ordeal.
“At the district hospital in Shamli, doctor accused my wife of lying about being raped even before he treated her. A senior police officer who came to the village also abused her at the hospital,” he said.
AIDWA found five rape victims all Muslims in refugee camps where the riot victims have taken refuge. “In their police complaints, the rape victims have named the accused. But they are roaming free and threatening the victims families to withdraw cases. Statements of the victims have not been recorded. It is exactly a month, and three of the rape victims are still to undergo medical tests,” said Sehba Farooqui of AIDWA.
Moreover, rape victims’ relatives have been slapped with charge of “attempt to murder”.
The number of rape victims of the Muzaffarnagar riots is yet to be ascertained as most refuse to complain for fear of retribution and social stigma. The exact number of missing children and their fate are not known either.
“We have lost everything in the riots. Social stigma of rape will ensure our girls never get married,” said a man who is living in a refugee camp in Budhana.
AIDWA slammed the UP government and administration for its callous attitude and laxity. “The police action is not satisfactory. The government needs to take immediate action and intervention at all fronts, including relief, rehabilitation and confidence building measures,” said Sehba.
Sundararaman said AIDWA will wage a national campaign against efforts to use crimes against women as a trigger to polarize and communalize ahead of general election.