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How many Nirbhayas does Delhi want, DCW lashes out after 14-year-old rape victim dies in hospital

DCW chief Swati Maliwal

New Delhi: A 14-year-old Dalit rape victim who was repeatedly sexually assaulted and was forced to drink a corrosive substance, died at a hospital in Delhi on Sunday, prompting an anguished DCW chief to lash out at the Centre and Delhi police on the issue of women’s safety.

“How many Nirbhayas does Delhi want? We all simply wait for next Nirbhaya to die,” the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) Chairperson Swati Maliwal said on Twitter, adding she “never felt so helpless.”

Maliwal was alluding to the Centre’s recent decision to disband the Special Task Force on women’s safety in Delhi. It was established in 2013 in the aftermath of the brutal Nirbhaya gangrape.

On Friday, the DCW has issued a notice to DCP (North) questioning the handling of the case of the Dalit minor who was allegedly kidnapped by the accused just before a hearing in her rape case, subjected to sexual assault several times and forced to drink corrosive substance.

In the notice, the Commission had directed DCP (North) to provide security to the girl and her family and asked why the police had not arrested the accused till date.

The Commission had also sought the details of action taken on the complaint of the victim’s parents regarding threat to their lives in an FIR filed on May 15 and asked the reasons for not registering offences under Section 3 of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

Giving details of the case, the Commission in its notice had said, an FIR under sections 363, 376 IPC and 4/6 of POCSO Act was registered in Burari police station on December 2 last year against a main accused Shivshankar.

According to the FIR in May, just before a hearing in the court, the girl was kidnapped from her house following which, on May 19, another FIR was registered. The DCW said the victim was recovered between May 26-27 and her parents were called to Burari police station to meet her where they found their daughter bleeding profusely from the head.

The victim had alleged she was kidnapped by the maternal aunt of the main accused and during confinement she was raped several times a day by Shivshankar. Her hands and feet were tied and was refused any food during the period. The victim had alleged Shivshankar along with his maternal aunt and uncle had fed the girl a corrosive substance mixed in a soft drink. The same is mentioned in a complaint by the victim’s father in Burari police station on July 15.

“However, the girl has alleged the police forced her to change her statement, appearing before the Metropolitan Magistrate. Later, she was dropped in Nari Niketan. It has also been stated that there was a call to the parents from Nari Niketan wherein it was informed that the victim was in a very serious condition and needed care. The parents then ensured that the girl gets admission in LNJP hospital wherein she was treated for some time. When the parents requested for an MLC, it is alleged by them that the investigating officer concerned refused the same,” Maliwal had said in the notice.

The Commission, which learnt about the case through a media report, got the victim shifted to Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh for better treatment under the EWS Scheme.

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