Saturday, January 5, 2013
Anti-rape crusader gets heard after death
KOLKATA: Kolkata Police on Friday 'closed' three personnel of Karaya police station for their alleged involvement in the immolation of anti-rape crusader Mir Aminul Islam. State human rights commission chairman Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly also took cognizance of the case and has sought a report from police commissioner R K Pachnanda. Aminul (33) set himself on fire in front of Karaya police station on December 3, alleging that police were trying to hush up a rape complaint and were harassing him because he helped the 16-year-old victim. He died on New Year's Day. This is the same police station that was in controversy in the Rizwanur Rehman case. Sub-inspector Vinod Kumar, ASI Ranjit Yadav and constable Nasim Khan have been taken off active duty and confined to the barracks to facilitate a "free and fair probe", said an officer. But it may be too little, too late, say local residents who have been holding candlelight rallies for weeks demanding action against the policemen. Amid cries for a CBI investigation into Aminul's death, Pachnanda has sent feelers to the bereaved parents through their lawyer assuring a proper investigation. The three cops and a retired constable, Harun Khan, have been charged with abetment to suicide. They were in hand-in-glove with the accused in the rape case, Sahazada Baux, and also threatened Aminul and the girl, says Aminul's suicide note. The girl has said when she and Aminul went to Karaya police station to file a complaint on October 31, Vinod Kumar and Nasim Khan started threatening them and even called up Sahazada to keep him "updated". Aminul's immolation has exposed a sordid tale of rape, intimidation and police-criminal nexus that led to his suicide, says his family. Sahazada, who bragged that he was a police informer, was allegedly a key player in the illegal construction business in Karaya police station area in the heart of the city. He owns as many as 15 apartments in Kolkata although he was a motor mechanic till a few years ago, say sources. The three accused officers were part of his network that had unleashed terror in the area, say police sources. Sahazada had allegedly raped the teenaged girl at Boat Club after luring her on a false pretext. After that he terrorised her with threats of an acid attack and the rapes continued at his home when his wife would go out to get the kids from school, alleges the victim. "Every time, Sahazad asked me to swallow a white pill to prevent pregnancy," she said. He also threatened to kill everyone in her family if she dared open her mouth. But in the last week of October, when she fell ill, she confided in her grandmother, who turned to Aminul since everyone in the locality knew him to be an upright, helpful person. Aminul advised her to file an FIR and promised to accompany her to the police station. Police registered the case with much reluctance on October 31 only because Aminul insisted, says the victim. However, the same night, Karaya police accepted a complaint of theft from Sahazada's wife Nilofer Begum and promptly started a case under Section 397 IPC against Aminul. This became an instrument for the three policemen to harass Aminul, says his sister Nahid Inzar. The case against Aminul dramatically changed into robbery (384 IPC) after Nilofer changed her version, claiming Aminul and his aides had broken into their home in Palm Avenue and robbed her of jewellery, said police sources. Sahazada and his associates started putting pressure on Aminul and the rape victim's family to withdraw the case, says Nahid. The rape victim's family says Sahazada attacked them several times. Aminul repeatedly went to the police station to demand to know why Sahazada was roaming free. Every time he was told that Sahazada was "absconding". Finally, on December 3 Aminul set himself ablaze out of sheer frustration, hoping his death will draw the attention of the higher-ups in Kolkata Police. He left behind a letter for his parents, holding the three police officers and Sahazada responsible for his suicide. Timeline: * Oct 31: Aminul Islam takes 16-yr-old rape victim to Karaya police station to lodge a complaint against Sahazada Baux. She alleges Sahazada raped her for weeks after threatening her with acid attack. Police accept FIR reluctantly * Oct 31: That very night, police accept a complaint from Sahazada's wife Nilofer Begum and charged Aminul with theft * Nov 3: Case against Aminul changed to robbery after Nilofer changed her version; Sahazada was not only roaming free but even attacked and threatened the rape victim to get her to withdraw the complaint * Dec 3: Frustrated, Aminul set himself ablaze in front of Karaya police station, alleging harassment by police. He left a letter for his parents naming three policemen and Sahazada responsible for his suicide * Dec 4: Sahazada finally arrested for rape * Jan 1: Aminul dies * Jan 2: Rape victim's mother files a complaint that the teen was sexually abused by Sahazada for nearly a year. Police charge Sahazada with criminal intimidation as well * Jan 3: Departmental inquiry starts against three policemen; they are charged with abetment to suicide * Jan 4: Accused cops taken off duty. Human rights panel seeks report from city police chief R K Pachnanda. Here we see the close link between criminals and police. How long are people going to stand this. Either they commit suicide like Aminul OR They take up arms and become Maoists. Now ther is a third alternative my countrymen. Bring AAP to power. We have tried all the corrupt political parties in the last sixty five years. Now let us usher life into India's Freedom Struggle.