A 28 year old woman, Seema Devi, suspect in a Jewellery theft case, was sexually assaulted by a Police officer in Police Station Kanachak, in the outskirts of Jammu city. A beer bottle and chilli powder was allegedly shoved in her private parts.
Kanachak Police Station is 20 kilometres from Jammu city and in the constituency of BJP leader and J&K’s Health Minister Bali Bhagat. Seema was allegedly kept in the police station for three days where SHO Rajesh Sharma alongwith his constable Rita Rani forcibly stripped her and inserted a beer bottle and chilli powder in her private parts. She was tortured for five days in Police Station (PS) Kanachak and sent to the women cell at Canal Road in Jammu city on May 3, 2017.
According to Seema Devi, she works as maid. “I was working as maid when I got in contact with the wife of Parvez Pal, a resident of village Dhyaran in Domana area of Jammu city. She wanted me to work at her home. I agreed and went to her home. I worked with them for 3 months. But then when I refused to work owing to my health concerns, his wife got irritated. She does abortion. She wanted me to be part of her racket,” claimed Seema while talking to Kashmir Life.
It was this refusal to work which, according to Seema Devi led to Parvez Pal’s family approaching police with a complaint of theft of gold ornaments. “Parvez Pal’s family lodged a complaint with Police Station (PS) Kanachak, alleging that they suspected Seema Devi of having stolen gold ornaments weighing around 94 grams from their home. Police without even verifying the facts declared me offender, the moment complaint was lodged with it,” said Seema.
She added “On April 28, I was called to the police station by SHO Kanachak Rajesh Sharma. I was told about the theft of Jewellery from the home of Parvez Pal. I was told that I am a since the family believes, I was the only outsider who was coming to their home. I denied the same but they did not believe me. I was allowed to go on day 1 but then on April 30, they lodged an FIR against me and my mother. I was arrested while my mother was bought from our home in Pathankote.”
“My torture began on April 30, the day when I was formally arrested and bought to police station (PS) Kanachak. I was abused, kicked and made to lick floor. They would take me to the toilet and then, dip my head in the seat of the toilet. The pungent smell made my life miserable. They did this with me for two days. The SHO alongwith constable Rita Devi and two other policemen left no method of torture untried on me,” added Seema Devi.
“Then on the third day, I was stripped in front of my Husband. A beer bottle and chilli powder was inserted up my Vagina. The policemen were watching me shamelessly while I was hanging upside down, naked and with beer bottle inside my vagina. All my pleas and those of my Husband and mother fell to the deaf ears. Abuses, abuses and abuses is what all my ears heard for more than 5 hours. My modesty was outraged while the staff watched shamelessly,” said a sobbing Seema Devi while talking to Kashmir Life.
“My vaginal bleeding is yet to stop. I am still bleeding. I have the courage to even show my private parts. Why hide? I am a suspected thief. So I have no rights and I am not a normal women. I am available to be raped and humiliated,” an angry Seema Devi told Kashmir Life. I kept pleading with them to shift me to women police cell but they refused, saying that they would first teach me a lesson for theft and then, send me to the women police cell to heal her wounds, claimed Seema.
She said that she was shifted to women police cell on May 2 where she was taken care of by the staff. “I told them I was ready to show them the torture marks but the officials in the women cell told me there was no need. They could see my torture marks on the outer parts of my body,” added Seema Devi. From the women cell, we approached the court of law which immediately bailed us out and asked the police to get my medical test done, informed Seema. “Then I decided to speak out and let the world know that here in Jammu is another Nirbhaya,” said Seema.
“Why should I cover my face? I did not outrage anyone’s modesty. My modesty has been outraged and I am not fearful anymore. What more can happen with me than what had already happened with me? Even if we believe, I committed theft, what allows an SHO to insert a Beer Bottle in my private part? I want justice and nothing else,” demanded Seema Devi. She said that she won’t rest till the guilty are not booked and put behind the bars.
Her advocate, Vijay Kumar Attri accused the police of manipulating the medical report of Seema Devi. “Police is trying to save the accused. They are backing their own officials who outraged modesty of the girl,” added Attri. Seema’s Husband Suresh Kumar said that he too was beaten. “Me and my mother-in-law Sudesh Kumari were both beaten. They thrashed us for no fault of ours. I am a labourer and police has nothing against me yet they beat me to force my wife to confess that she had committed the theft,” added Suresh.
However, SHO Kanachak Rajesh Sharma denied all these accusations and told Kashmir life, “I kept two female constables namely Ritu Kumari and Kuldeep Kumari with the accused all the time. She was treated like we treat criminals. She was not tortured at all. The allegations are false and aimed at scuttling the probe which is on against her. She is an accused in a theft case.”
On being asked, why Seema was not shifted to the women cell immediately after the arrest, Sharma said “There is a procedure for that. And since she had accepted of having committed the theft, we needed her for the recovery of the gold ornaments stolen by her.”
He added, “I am dead honest and that is the problem. Even staff in the police station is not happy with me since I have stopped all the corrupt practices. This is an attempt to get me shifted out of this police station.” The other accused female constable Ritu Devi told Kashmir Life “I am pregnant. Doctors have advised me rest yet I was assigned the task of being with the accused Seema Devi. I and my colleague Kuldeep Kumari kept a close watch on Seema during her three days stay in this police station. The allegations are false and motivated.”
However, SSP Jammu Sunil Gupta told Kashmir Life that the SHO has been placed under suspension and a departmental inquiry has been ordered against him. “Prima facia there is a case of theft of Jewellery against the lady. The inquiry of the same has now been entrusted to a DySP rank officer to ensure that truth comes out. Regarding the allegations of Seema Devi, inquiry has been entrusted to SP (Rural). But the matter is in the court and an order is expected in next few days. Once the court order comes, we would go ahead with the inquiry against our officer,” added Gupta. He assured that if found guilty, the officer would not be spared.