Gender

Haryana Government Pulled Up on Murthal Gang Rape Case

People walk past an overturned mobile urinal during a demonstration by members of the Jat community in Bahadurgarh in Haryana. Credit: Reuters/Adnan Abidi/Files

People walk past an overturned mobile urinal during a demonstration by members of the Jat community in Bahadurgarh in Haryana. Credit: Reuters/Adnan Abidi/Files

Chandigarh: At least 30 people were killed and property worth crores of rupees destroyed during the ten-day Jat agitation in February over reservations in government jobs and education. Murthal, located near NH-1, witnessed some of the worst violence and arson during the agitation.

Groups of demonstrators chopped down eucalyptus and sal trees that line NH1 to stop traffic between Punjab, Haryana, Uttarkhand, Himachal Pradesh and the National Capital Region. The gang rape allegedly took place on February 22 and was dismissed by the Haryana government as a rumour for a long time.

The high court of Punjab and Haryana pulled up the Haryana government on Monday for seeking more time to “collect more facts” about the Murthal gang rape case. The court responded to the government’s request by stating that the fact of the rape hadn’t been denied, it was now all about identifying the victim and the accused. “Let’s not deviate from the main path which is identification of the victim and ensuring justice,” the court observed.

The court asserted that the gang rape had occurred undoubtedly during the Jat agitations in the state. A division bench of S.S. Saron and Lisa Gill observed, “There can be no doubt…even they (Haryana) are not denying it.”

“Earlier, there was reluctance on your part to even register an FIR. But now, you have accepted that rape had taken place,” the bench said. The assertion came after Mehta sought additional time to come up with “something more concrete”.

The court also directed the government to produce the second part of the Prakash Singh Committee report on July 7, the next date of hearing. The Prakash Singh Committee had reported on the Jat agitation and consequent violence that had taken place in Haryana.

The report indicted several top state police and civil officials for failing to control the riots in February this year, leading to the death of 30 people. It identified about 90 officials who indulged in “deliberate negligence” when violence hit the state.