In India, suicide of another rape victim puts spotlight on inaction
Two policemen have been dismissed for dereliction of duty. One of them, Sub-Inspector Nasib Singh, is in custody and faces charges of "abetting" her suicide.
Singh, who headed the police post in the girl's village of Badshahpur, is accused of delays in registering the allegations and questioning and arresting the suspects, according to Shashi Prabha Dwivedi, an inspector-general of police in Punjab who is a member of a special panel set up to investigate the case.
Dwivedi said an initial investigation showed that Singh did not "handle the case properly" and it appeared he had also tried to broker an illegal, out-of-court settlement between the girl's family and the families of her alleged attackers. Dwivedi would not say what the specific evidence was against Singh, citing the need to keep details of the inquiry confidential.
Singh's son, Gurinder Singh, told Reuters his father was innocent of the charges and was being made a scapegoat by politicians and government officials. His father had yet to get a lawyer, he said.
Some Supreme Court lawyers say it is not atypical for the police to pressure victims and their families into out-of-court settlements. Most policemen are underpaid and over-worked and often have little interest in investigating a case that could take years to reach judgement.
The girl first reported the rape to the police on Nov. 19, according to relatives and the head of the village council, or "panchayat", who accompanied them to the police post. But police waited a week before formally registering a case on Nov. 27 and ordering a medical exam, the family said.
Inspector-General Dwivedi said her committee's initial investigation also showed police had delayed registering the case. She gave no reason for the delay but the girl's family said they were told by police on Nov. 19 that they wanted to investigate before making a First Information Report.
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