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Thursday, 16 February 2012

Woman raped in car at gunpoint in Kolkata

Woman raped in car at gunpoint in Kolkata

MydeaMedia

In a yet another shocking incident of rape, a 37 year old woman was raped at gunpoint in a moving car while returning from a nightclub on Park Street in central Kolkata.

KOLKATA: A young woman was picked up in a car outside a night club and raped at gunpoint by five men as they drove around the Maidan after midnight on February 5. They shoved a pistol into her mouth and punched and kicked her, saying "Chillaogi to thok denge (We will shoot you if you scream)." She was dumped at Exide crossing about 90 minutes later, torn, bloodied and battered.

If this sends a chill down your spine, here's worse - the police ignored her complaints when she mustered courage to report the incident two days later and even mocked her for going to a night club. Two officers allegedly passed sleazy remarks at her at Park Street police station, when she was summoned for a
forensic examination on February 14. And, it was a male police officer who 'escorted' her to the test, rather than a policewoman.

The victim is still determined to fight back and trawled Facebook to get the names and photographs of the suspects, but the police brushed it off. They did not even ask her for the clothes she wore on the night of the incident. TOI is withholding the pictures of the three suspects she claims to have identified.

Chief minister
Mamata Banerjee said that the complaint was filed late. "The police are trying their best. Damayanti Sen (joint CP, crime) and Javed Shamim (joint CP, HQ) are investigating the case. A similar incident had happened in Malda when I was there and I initiated action instantly."

The victim is a mother of two and was employed with a private firm till 2010 when she resigned to take care of her children. She was born and brought up in Kolkata and always considered it a safe city. When a few
friends suggested going to a nightclub on Park Street on the evening of February 5, she hesitated a bit but agreed. "We were having a small party at Grail Club on Park Street. The night club was virtually next doors and I was a regular there till a few years ago. I gave in, thinking I should go and unwind," she told TOI.

Accompanied by three friends she walked into the discotheque around 11.30pm. Her friends left a little before 1 am but she decided to hang around for some more time. She was standing near the dance floor, sipping beer, when a young man came and introduced himself as Gidwani, she says.

"This guy seemed be in his early twenties. He sounded decent and polite. So I interacted with him. After some time he introduced me to three of his friends," she said. She remembers two names, Sharafat Ali and Azhar Ali. Around 2am, she told them that she was leaving as her daughters and mother would be waiting. Gidwani offered her a lift. She hesitated, but agreed, saying she would get off wherever she found a taxi. "They advised me I should not travel alone at that hour. Since none of them had behaved indecently I thought I was safe. How would I know that the saviours would turn tormentors in a few minutes," she said.

A vehicle (a
Honda Civic or City) with a driver was waiting for them outside. She and Gidwani got in. The others also piled in. Gidwani sat to her right and Sharafat to her left. There was a fourth man in the back seat and Azhar sat in front.
The rape victim says she started feeling uncomfortable with the body language of Sharafat soon after getting into the car. "I asked them to stop the car in front of Trincas (barely 10 metres away). I tried to reach for the door to open it. But Sharafat pulled me by the hair, pushed me face down, and told the driver, Salman, to speed up," she told TOI. "When I struggled to scream for help, Sharafat pulled out a pistol and shoved it into my mouth. I was punched and kicked in the stomach. I felt helpless and terrified."

She says the four men took turns molesting her. "Then Sharafat forced himself on me. I kept pleading with him but he threatened to shoot me," she said, breaking into tears. "He raped me, hurling obscene abuses."

She was beaten so mercilessly that she heard one of the other men tell Sharafat: "Bhai usko maar daloge kya, chhod do (do you want to kill him? Let her go)." But Sharafat went on raping her. "When he was done with me, he told the rest that it was their turn now, but they refused. They said, 'Isko bahar phenk do (throw her out)'," she said.

She was dumped at Exide crossing around 3.30am. She slumped on the roadside for a few minutes, before hailing a taxi to reach home. "My niece called me around 4am, inconsolable traumatized. We were horrified. We never thought something like this could happen in Kolkata," said her aunt, who stays in the opposite end of the city.

The next morning relatives flocked to her. It took another day of counselling before she agreed to go to police.

However, Park Street police station officially registered the complaint on February 9. She says she was asked uncomfortable questions and jeered at for going to a night club. "Is it a sin to go to a night club? The policemen made me feel like a criminal. I was already traumatised and they made me all the more sick," she said.

Joint commissioner, crime, Damayanti Sen said on Wednesday that the victim had not told police about the lewd remarks from officers. "We will speak with her and if anyone is guilty, we will take action," she promised.

The victim volunteered for a medical examination at NRS Hospital on February 9. The report confirmed abrasions in the inside of her mouth, on the temple, and the knees. Police applied in court for a forensic test on February 10 and the examination was carried out on February 14th. Someone matching Sharafat's description was picked up but released when the victim could not identify him said Sen.

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