New Delhi: 10.30 am: Sonia Gandhi is the first Congress leader to meet the rape victims. Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who hasn't met a single rape victim so far, accompanies Sonia.
10.25 am: "Khap cannot decide law, it is in the hands of the judiciary," says Sonia.
10.18 am: Sonia Gandhi refuses to comment on the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government; Says that rapes happen everywhere and are not restricted to Haryana alone. She adds that strict action will be taken.
10.00 am: Congress President Sonia Gandhi visits Jind, Haryana; meets rape victims and their families.
10.00 am: Heavy security at Sacha Khera in Jind, the place where a Dalit teen gangrape victim set herself on fire.
Two more rapes reported ahead of Sonia's visit
Two more rapes have been reported in Haryana. While a minor was raped in Panipat, in Ambala, a widow was allegedly raped. The police have registered a case, however, no arrests have been made so far. This takes the tally of reported rapes in Haryana over the past one month to 13.
The reports also come on a day when Congress President Sonia Gandhi is scheduled to visit the rape victims in Jind and their families. Her visit comes three days after a Dalit teen girl set herself on fire after being gangraped by four men. The Congress government in Haryana had been criticised for doing too little too late. Although the Hooda government has set up a three-member panel to look into the rising number of rapes in the state, much still needs to be done.
Meanwhile, the Superintendent of Police, Hisar, has said that rapes will be dealt by fast track courts and strictest punishment awarded to the accused. Speaking to IBN18 Editor-in-Chief on India @ 9, the police officer said, "Rape is a very serious crime. One gangrape took place in Hisar and we arrested all the accused and we have planned to put this case in the fast track court and we will ensure that the culprits are punished."
Haryana's state of shame
The Jind gangrape
A teenaged Dalit girl in Jind died after she set herself on fire on the night of October 7 after she was allegedly gangraped. The four accused have been arrested.
She was rushed to the civil hospital in Jind district, and was later referred to PGIMS at Rohtak in serious condition. The girl breathed her last on Saturday evening in the Rohtak hospital. Reports said that the 16-year-old girl was forcibly taken to the house of one of the suspects where the crime occurred.
Earlier on Saturday, the victim in her statement to the police said that one of her neighbours Pradeep allegedly dragged her into his house while the sister-in-law of the accused kept guard standing on the terrace of the house so that nobody could come inside. Pradeep and another youth Naveen raped the teenager.
The Bhiwani rape
A minor girl was reportedly raped in Bhiwani, Haryana around the beginning of this month. The Director General of Police cancelled the leaves of all police personnel for the month of October after the incident was reported.
Sources said that a special drive was also initiated to identify lumpen elements, unemployed youth, vagabonds and criminals in each village of the state and prepare reports and lists and take action against them.
The Sonepat gangrape
A class 11 student was gangraped in Gohana near Sonepat in Haryana by four men on September 27. Three accused were arrested and a case was registered. According to police, the girl was raped in a busy market area on Thursday afternoon but her family filed the complaint only on Friday.
The Jind gangrape
In the same week, a woman in Jind was raped by three men. The accused barged into the woman's house looking for her husband and when they did not find him, they brutally raped her. The victim was from a backward caste. Her daughter stood outside the house screaming in fright. The victim said that the men made a video of the whole gruesome act and threatened to make it public if she reported the matter to the police.
The Hisar gangrape
A 16-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly gangraped by eight upper caste men on September 9 in the Dabra area of Hisar. The case came to light only 10 days later, on September 19, after the distraught minor broke down in front of her parents and narrated the incident.
To make matters worse, when the girl's father approached the police for help, they reportedly refused to file an FIR. The helpless father committed suicide the next day. The police arrested one of the accused after the residents of the area refused to cremate the body of the victim's father until arrests were made.
The accused reportedly made an MMS clip of the incident and circulated it. The girl's uncle told reporters, "The girl was scared and did not report the incident to her family. The accused had threatened to kill her if she approached the police. But when the MMS clip was circulated in the entire village and the people came to know, her father decided to report the matter to the police. However, I don't know what happened. He took the extreme step the next day."