A Nepalese woman raped and murdered in the north Indian city of Rohtak was so viciously attacked that the only way her relatives could identify the body was with the help of her clothes. She had gone missing on February 1 and by the time her decomposing body was found on February 4, her face was almost gone.
A group of nine perpetrators had used bricks to smash her face and then left her body in a secluded field. Wild animals had unhindered access to the body until a caretaker of the property found it three days later.
Ramlal Giri, a Rohtak-based central member of Migrant Nepalese Association India, told southasia.com.au that authorities were not quick to respond initially. But when his organisation and local opposition political parties took out a 7 thousand strong demonstration on February 8, Superintendent of Police Shashank Anand assured the gathering that those responsible would be brought to justice. Haryana Police arrested 8 men responsible for the horrendous crime the very next day. The ninth committed suicide upon hearing news of the arrest.
When contacted by southasia.com.au, SP Anand advised to email questions but the email went unanswered.
Local residents think the initial slow response is typical of police, or it could perhaps be due to the fact that the victim belonged to a poor migrant Nepalese family whose sister worked as a domestic help in Rohtak, a city 70 kilometres away from New Delhi.
The crime is just another episode in India’s epidemic of violence against women with official data standing at 93 rape cases per day.
This latest case has generated huge media interests among media and concerned local people given the fact that the victim was mentally disabled. According to Giri, she originally came from western Nepal district of Dang and was visiting her sister to seek medical attention. On the day of her abduction, she left home around 12 pm and is believed to have been attacked initially by two men at around 6 pm. The two telephoned their friends when they could not bring the 28 year old woman under control, Giri said.
Once gathered in full strength, the accused including one Nepalese national took the 28 year old to an unoccupied building where they sexually assaulted her for three hours. They have already confessed to the crime and told police that they initially let her go once their illicit desires were fulfilled but attacked her with extreme barbarity when the helpless woman threatened to report them.
Forensic officials found sticks, stones, blades and condoms inside her private parts.
The public and the family members are demanding death penalty for the eight men. The state government has declared five hundred thousand Indian rupees as compensation for the victim’s family and has stationed two policewomen at their home for protection.
India has seen a surge of extremely violent cases against women in which the victims usually end up losing life.
In the historic city of Jaipur, a 20 year old Japanese woman was raped on February 7 by a man who presented himself as a tourist guide. He showed her around on his motorbike and offered her food that the tourist later told police might been laced with drugs and then sexually assaulted her. She was eventually rescued by nearby villagers who were luckily alerted by the victim’s screams for help.
Last month, six men in Kolkata were charged with rape and kidnap of another Japanese woman. The 22 year old was also approached by men pretending to be tourist guides. She was held hostage, robbed of USD 1,200 and gang-raped repeatedly for over a month from 23 November of last year. Local media had reported then that the perpetrators were so professional in their crime that the victim was trafficked around and raped solo in two separate tourist locations.
There have also been other high profile rape and attempted rape cases involving foreigners drawing serious international scrutiny about the condition of women rights and safety in the biggest democracy of the modern world.
The worst of all, the one that generated unprecedented international outrage, was the rape of a young New Delhi medical student in December 2012.