Three persons were arrested in connection with an alleged abduction, gang-rape and forced religious conversion of a 20-year-old woman in the Kharkhauda area of Meerut district, police said. The woman, a BA student, has alleged that she was forcibly converted to Islam in a madrassa in Hapur. In addition, she has said she was held captive in another madrassa in Muzaffarnagar for three days, where she was sexually assaulted.
“Three persons have been arrested in this connection so far,” Inspector General of Police (law and order) Amrendra Singh Sengar told reporters. The arrested trio are a cleric named Sallaullah, his wife and daughter Nishat, all named by the victim’s father who lodged the complaint at Kharkhauda police station. The complainant has also named the village head, a man identified as Nawab Khan.
The gang-rape, which reportedly took place last Tuesday, took a political turn with Uttar Pradesh BJP chief Laxmikant Bajpai and MLA Sangeet Som, one of the main accused in the Muzaffarnagar riots case, declaring that they would meet the victim and her family.
According to Superintendent of Police (rural) Captain MS Begh, the victim’s father lodged a complaint stating that the village head Nawab Khan along with five others abducted his daughter on 23 July and took her to a madarsa where they raped her and kept her illegally confined. They also forcefully made her sign some papers related to religious conversion.
Begh said the woman managed to escape and returned to her house on 30 July and narrated her ordeal to her parents. He said the woman’s medical examination has confirmed rape. He also confirmed that some cut marks were found on her abdomen. He rejected media reports that the girl’s kidney had been removed.
Referring to a cut mark on the abdomen of the victim, IGP Sengar said that a medical examination was being conducted.
According to a report in The Indian Express, the victim’s father explained that the girl worked in the madrassa to support the family financially but eventually quit her job when Salaullah began to harass her to convert to Islam. According to his account to Express, the girl returned on July 27 but did not tell the family anything, though she had actually been kidnapped and taken to a house where she was given a veil. On the morning of July 24, at 4 am, she was taken to neighbouring Hapur where she was allegedly assaulted and gangraped.
She was reportedly kidnapped once again on July 29 and taken to another madarsa in Meerut where she was forcibly converted and raped again. On July 30, she was allegedly taken to a madarsa in Muzaffarnagar, where she was kept for three days. She was forced to eat fish, the complainant has said.
The Express report quotes the victim’s father as saying: “She told us she met other Hindu girls at the madrasa who were also being converted. The maulvis told her they would get them married to Sheikhs and send them to Dubai.”
He continued, “They made her keep a Muslim name. She told us the other women were also signing affidavits for visa applications and passports. On Sunday morning, she managed to flee from the back gate and boarded a bus to the village. She borrowed a phone from someone and called us, asking us to pick her up from the bus stop.”
The bleeding girl was also allegedly taken to a hospital by force and made to undergo a surgery.
Police confirmed that the girl had cut marks on her abdomen but denied that her kidney may have been removed.
However, according to a report in regional language paper Dainik Jagran, ultra-sound and x-ray reports have revealed that one of the victim’s fallopian tubes is missing. The report said the victim would never be able to bear a child.
The report added that officials at a Muzaffarnagar hospital confirmed that one fallopian tube had to be removed because of the victim’s injuries.
Meanwhile, tension gripped Meerut’s Kharkhauda and Atrada areas as members of one community attacked and pelted stone at the houses of members of another community. Police and Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) personnel had to be deployed to bring the situation under control.
IGP Sengar added that Kharkhauda Station House Officer Dinesh Kumar Singh was removed from the post and sent to police lines for delay in lodging the FIR and failing to take prompt action.
Since the incident occurred in Hapur area, he said the post magisterial inquiry into the matter will be taken by Hapur District Magistrate.
A magisterial inquiry into the incident will be conducted by Deputy District Collector SP Singh, who will submit a report within a week, District Magistrate (Hapur) Rajesh Kumar Singh said.