India: Police Officer Allegedly Raped 13-Year-Old Girl While She Reported Gang Rape

A police officer in India’s northern Uttar Pradesh state was arrested on Wednesday for the alleged rape of a 13-year-old girl late last month at a police station while she was attempting to report a separate gang rape days earlier by four men, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported on Thursday.

Police in the Uttar Pradesh town of Chandauli arrested a local police officer named Tilak Dhari Saroj on May 4 for allegedly sexually assaulting a minor girl at a police station he supervised in the town’s Lalitpur district on April 27.

The female victim’s alleged rape by Saroj came to light while she was in the recent care of an Indian state-run child welfare protection organization called Childline for a separate alleged gang rape incident. India’s the Print digital news platform on May 4 published excerpts of a police report filed on behalf of the victim by her mother on May 3 that revealed details about her case.

The news outlet wrote:

The complainant has stated that, on 22 April, four young men — identified as Chandan, Rajbhan, Harishankar, and Mahendra Chaurasia — “coaxed” the girl into accompanying them to Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, which is on the border with Lalitpur.

“They allegedly stayed along with the minor in the lanes near a railway station and continuously raped her in hiding,” the FIR [police report] says.

Four days later, on 26 April, the accused allegedly left the girl at Pali police station, after which she was handed over to her maternal aunt. The aunt then “sent the girl to Kakdari village [in Uttar Pradesh] for two days with the sister of Chandan — one of the accused”, the FIR reads. On 27 April, the girl was again called to the police station to record her statement. It was during this visit that the SHO [Saroj] allegedly raped her.

Uttar Pradesh police have launched a criminal probe into the alleged actions of the four men accused of gang-raping the victim as well as her alleged rape by Police Officer Saroj. The victim’s maternal aunt is likewise under a criminal investigation for allegedly facilitating the victim’s rape by Saroj.

Police in Uttar Pradesh are specifically investigating if the six accused individuals committed crimes under “various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including 363 (kidnapping), 376 (rape), 376-b (intercourse by public servant with woman in his custody), and sections 3 and 4 of the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act,” the Print detailed on May 4. “The girl’s maternal aunt has also been booked under Section 120-b (criminal conspiracy).”

PTI revealed on May 5 that the 13-year-old female victim was a member of India’s lowest social caste, as the news agency reported that Uttar Pradesh police are additionally probing if the accused group committed crimes established under the Indian Penal Code’s “Schedule Caste/Schedule Tribe Act.”

Gabrielle Reyes