Pune: A newly married 19-year-old Dalit woman was raped by two burglars in Hadapsar, 20 km from Pune, evoking strong condemnation by parties across Maharashtra’s political spectrum.
The incident took place on Saturday evening in Wadki near the city’s Hadapsar area when the victim chanced upon the men attempting to break into her brother-in-law’s house.
“The girl was married barely a year and was celebrating her first Diwali at her husband’s house. On Saturday, around 7 p.m., she had gone to light a lamp outside the house when she noticed that the door of her brother-in-law’s house right next door was ajar,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police (Pune Rural), Dr. Vaishali Kadukar.
According to her, the victim chanced upon men wearing masks inside the house and raised an alarm.
“The girl said she was first threatened at knife-point. Later, one of the men apparently banged her head against the wall and she fell unconscious. She was then raped during a power outage and later discovered by her husband, who works as an electrician, almost five hours later,” said Dr. Kadukar, adding that prima facie investigations revealed intent of burglary on part of the duo.
Preliminary assessment of the police is that the crime may not necessarily be a caste-related atrocity.
“We are not ruling out any possibility. At present, we are trying our best to trace the identity of the criminals and have launched a manhunt to nab the duo. We are confident the case will be solved soon,” said Manoj Lohiya, Superintendent of Police (Pune rural).
The Loni Kalbhor police have booked a case against unidentified men under sections 376 (g) (gang rape) and section 392 (robbery) of the Indian Penal Code.
On Monday, Shiv Sena leader Neelam Gorhe and Nationalist Congress Party MP Supriya Sule visited the girl’s house in Hadapsar.
“I am appalled by this despicable act. The victim, naturally, is in a traumatic state. But she has passed her 9th standard and was able to read and understand the FIR lodged in her case. I hope the government brings pressure on the police to crack the case soon,” said Ms. Gorhe, speaking to reporters here.
Demanding a speedy resolution to the case, Ms. Sule called for a fast-track trial of the accused.
“The erstwhile NCP government in Maharashtra had fast-tracked the trial in the shocking gang rape of a photojournalist in Mumbai’s Shakti Mills compound. We likewise that demand stern justice be meted out by the newly-elected Bharatiya Janata Party and that the perpetrators be hanged,” said Ms. Sule.