'Badaun Rape Victim Shouldn't Have Gone Out Late, Alone': Women's Commission Member

'Even under any influence, a woman should keep track of time, and should not venture out late,' said Chandramukhi Devi of the National Commission for Women.

New Delhi: A member of the National Commission for Women (NCW), Chandramukhi Devi, stoked controversy on Thursday by saying that the Badaun gangrape-and-murder incident, involving a 50-year-old Anganwadi worker, could have been avoided had the victim not ventured out in the evening.

Speaking to the media after meeting the family of the victim, she said, “Even under any influence, a woman should keep track of time, and should not venture out late. Perhaps, had the victim not gone out in the evening, or gone along with a family member, she could have been saved.”

Her remarks have kicked up a storm resulting in NCW chairperson, Rekha Sharma, clarifying that she does not know why her colleague had made the statement. Taking to Twitter, Sharma said:

The gangrape-and-murder of a 50-year-old woman in the Ughaiti area of Uttar Pradesh’s Badaun district on Sunday, January 3, by a local priest and his two accomplices has sparked outrage across the country.

Accusing inaction on the part of the local police, the NCW took cognisance of the issue and sent a two-member NCW team to the village to enquire into the matter on Thursday, of which Chandramukhi Devi was part.

After investigating the spot where the incident is believed to have taken place and meeting the victim’s family, the NCW member said that she was not satisfied with the role of police in the incident, as accusations of delay displayed in filing the first information report (FIR) by the police gathered momentum. The FIR was registered only two days after the autopsy confirmed rape and the two accomplices of the priest were nabbed.

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“If the police would have shown swiftness in the matter, perhaps they could have saved the victim,” ANI quoted Devi as saying after her visit to the village.

While the priest is on the run, his two accomplices – Vedram and Jaspal – were arrested on Tuesday night after the post-mortem report confirmed rape, adding the woman’s leg and a rib bone too were found fractured and there were injuries on her private parts.

Meanwhile, the NCW team, in addition to meeting local police officials, was also called upon by family members of one of the accused, Jaspal, claiming that he was innocent and sought the support of the NCW members for his release.

“My husband got a call that there is a patient and he went to do his job. He came to know about the case later,” Jaspal’s wife said, according to ANI report.

Taking cognisance of the incident, chief minister Yogi Adityanath had ordered “strongest possible action” in the case even as opposition parties attacked his government, terming the incident “horrific” and “shameful”, with the Congress comparing it to the Nirbhaya incident of 2012.