Mainstream, VOL LII, No 24, June 7, 2014
Badaun Outrage: Preliminary Report of a Fact-finding Team
Monday 9 June 2014
A fact-finding team, comprising Rajan Singh (Actionaid), Ram Kumar (Dynamic Action Group), Ramdular (National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights—NCdhr), Neetu (Humsafar Support Centre for Women), Shubhangi Singh (AALI) and Shilpi Aggraval (SAKAR Sanstha, Bareilly), visited Katra Sahadatganj village in Dattaganj Block in UP’s Badaun district where the abduction, gang rape and murder of two minor girls allegedly by three brothers Pappu Yadav, Avdesh Yadav, Urvesh Yadav, sons of Vir Yadav, and two police constables Sarvesh Yadav and Chatra Pal on May 27, 2014 night rocked the country. This is a preliminary report of the fact-finding team. A detailed report is being worked upon and would be ready in a few days.
Badaun social profiles of gang rape case
• Victims—Koiri /(Maurya (OBC)
• The accused—Yadav caste
• SHO—Yadav caste
• MP—Dharmendra Yadav (Yadav caste)
• CM—Akhilesh Yadav (Yadav caste)
* “Hang the culprits publicly,” demand the mothers of the victims.
* “We don’t want any compensation. We want justice and not compensation,” say the victims’ fathers.
* “Boys will be boys, they make mistakes,” Mulayam Singh Yadav said during the 2014 election campaign.
A Trajectory of Atrocities in Uttar Pradesh
On the evening of May 27, 2014 when two cousin sisters went out for defecation, they were kidnapped. When the girls cried out for help, then one of their family members, their chacha (paternal uncle), Babu Ram, tried to rescue the girls. The accused brutally beat him up and dragged the girls to the forest area adjacent to the village. Babu Ram reported the incident to his brothers—the victims’ fathers Sohan Lal and Jiyan Lal. After that Sohan Lal along with some other family members started to search for the girls and reached the house of Pappu Yadav suspecting the young girls to have been kept there. The victims’ family and villagers had come to know that the girls were inside the house. But they did not dare to enter the house fearing that the accused’s family would open fire.
Instead the victims’ family members and villagers approached the Ushait Police Station, at village Katra Sahadatganj which was barely 500 metres away from the house of the accused.
The victims’ fathers said that “when we first arrived at the police station at approximately 8.30 pm, police constable Sarvesh Yadav first asked for our caste.” The police constable asked the victims’ family to wait for two hours during which time he subjected them to gender-specific abuses. “I touched his feet a couple of times begging him to rescue our minor girls from the grip of the Yadav goons.”
The victim’s fathers alleged that as the accused and the accused policemen were all from the Yadav caste, they were supporting each other in covering up the heinous crime.
The two police constables told the victims’ family members to return home and the girls would return home on their own after two hours.
But the wait turned from two to three hours without any sign of the girls. The policemen asked them to check in the orchard. But the girls were not there.
By then a large number of angry villagers and community members collected outside the house of Pappu Yadav. He tried to escape but was caught by the victims’ families and villagers. The constables came to his aid, took hold of him and took him to the police station rescuing him from the wrath of the victims’ families and villagers.
By then it was dawn and the villagers were preparing to go to the district headquarters to complain about the missing girls. It is then that constable Sarvesh Yadav told them that the girls were in the orchard barely 40 metres from the house of the accused.
When the people returned to the orchard at 4.30 am to look for their girls once again, much to their horror they found them hanging from the mango tree.
Hundreds of people had gathered on the spot and informed the local BSP MLA from Dataganj, Sinood Kumar Shakya, who was in Lucknow but asked the villagers to wait for him and not remove the bodies from the tree.
Meanwhile the local police tried to convince the villagers and victims’ families to hand over the bodies for further action which the villagers refused outright insisting that they would not allow any action till the local MLA reached the spot.
After the MLA, Sinood Kumar Shakya, reached the spot around 4 pm he
* got the panchnama (record of evidence by at least five people) done;
* asked the police station to bring the General Diary (GD) and record the incident on the spot and lodge the formal FIR under sections IPC 376 (gh)/307/120B and 7/8 POSCO Act;
* only after that the bodies were taken down from the tree and sent for post-mortem.
Speaking to a cross-section of the villagers the fact-finding team discovered that caste-based atrocities were highly prevalent in the area.
According to the community, whenever the Samajwadi Party Government came to power, the Yadavs became fearless and a law into themselves. These local Yadavs not only get direct support from politicians but also from the local Yadav community. The villagers say that caste plays a predominant role in the village.
Current Situation of the Victims
The victims’ families have filed their FIRs. The police administration have arrested five named out of the seven total accused. The two unnamed accused are still absconding.
“We will not accept compensation as we want the accused to be hanged just as our girls were brutally killed and hanged,” say the local community members. The local Maurya (OBC) community has come up in support of the victims’ families. The victims’ families are dependent primarily on members of their own community for food and their other needs.
Immediate Advocacy Needs on Behalf of Victims
* The government should set up a fast-track court to ensure timely justice to the victims’ families.
* They demanded CBI enquiry as they had no faith in the State Police.
* The POSCO sections need to be further strengthened.
* The local community wants the State Gover-nment to establish a commission to register all cases of caste-based atrocities in the area which have gone unreported.
* Comprehensive survey of victim-survivor of atrocities to ensure justice and compensation to all victims.
* Legal support and protection to such survivors.