Tamil Nadu’s Commissionerate for Welfare of the Differently Abled on Wednesday sought a status report after locals in Krishnagiri district alleged that the police forced a 28-year old woman to marry a man accused of raping her, the Hindustan Times reported.
It is unclear when the incident occurred.
Tamil Nadu Association for Rights of All Types of Differently Abled and Caregivers General Secretary S Namburajan said the man, 35-year old Sripal, had raped and impregnated the woman, who is reportedly visually impaired and has a mental illness. The woman is five months pregnant.
“We had lodged a complaint with the Singarapettai Police on June 3, [but] they did not issue the community service register receipt,” Namburajan told The Times of India. “When we took up the issue with Superintendent of Police Bandi Gangadhar, he assured action against the accused, if found guilty. However, police officials conducted a ‘kangaroo court’ and forced the woman to marry the accused.”
Namburajan said the police did not register a case till June 5, even after the woman’s family lodged the complaint. On Wednesday, the locals informed him that the complainant was forced to marry the accused.
However, a different version of the events have emerged as Namburajan told the Hindustan Times that the heads of the village arranged the woman’s marriage ceremony on June 6.
Johny Tom Varghese, the welfare commissioner for the differently abled, took suo motu cognisance of the matter on June 8 and issued a notice, under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, to Krishnagiri police superintendent and district social welfare department. He has sought a response by June 22, according to the Hindustan Times.
The First Information Report mentions Indian Penal Code sections, including 417 (cheating), 503 (1) (criminal intimidation), 493 (deceiving a woman to cohabit), 506 (1) (criminal intimidation), and 312 (miscarriage).
The police have dismissed allegations against them. Superintendent of Police Sai Charan Tejaswi said that there is a stipulated time for the filing of a chargesheet. “It is a recent case,” he said. “So based on the victim’s statement, any section can be deleted or added. We are in touch with the victim. She was taken to the government hospital today [Thursday] for a check-up. We are providing legal assistance to them.”
But the police officer could not confirm reports of the marriage as it had not been registered. Tejaswi said the accused is already married, but added that they would seek the woman’s choice.
“We can neither stop nor allow the will and wish of the victim,” the police officer said. “Our purview is to ensure the victim is protected, not harassed, and offer legal support.”