A horrific story reported by the Tribune has gone viral worldwide where eyewitnesses say woman passengers were dragged out of their cars and raped on NH1 near Murthal on Monday morning. The women were dragged into the nearby fields but police deny that such a heinous crime occurred. Reportedly, the victims and their families were told by district officials not to report the matter “For the sake of their honour.”
The news report caught the attention of Justice Sanghi of the Punjab and Haryana Court who issued an independent probe into the mass rape accounts and victim testimonies. The Justice stated that the matter will be handed over to a “premier investigating agency.”
Justice Sanghi also wrote the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for further proceedings. The Haryana government responded to the media reports and stated the reports to be “totally false, misleading and not based on facts.”
“There was no rape, no victim and no complaint,” Inspector Ajay Kumar, who is based in Murthal, told HuffPost India.
Haryana’s top cop Y.P. Singal refuted any rapes took place and stated, “I still want to request to everyone that if something has happened, then come to the police,”
The police have claimed the reports to be false and that eyewitness claims are inaccurate leading the High Court to issue a probe into the matter.
The victims stated that a mob of about 30 men set vehicles on fire, women were dragged out of their cars, stripped, and raped in the nearby fields. Nearby residents of villages Hassanpur and Kurad ran over to help the terrified women who’d been laying in the fields for several hours after being brutally raped.
The villagers brought clothes for the women and provided care until further help came.
An eyewitness told the Tribune:
“Three women were taken to Amrik Sukhdev Dhaba and united with their families in the presence of senior police officers. They appeared lifeless. District officials who arrived there, instead of investigating the matter, persuaded the families to take the women home. Many were provided transport,” said an eyewitness, who did not want to be identified.
Amrik Singh of Sukhdev Dhaba learnt of the incident at around 3am when travellers heard the women crying near his place of business.
Another eyewitness responded to after police broke the blockade with a lathicharge, “They threw stones at other vehicles that had arrived there in the meantime, forcing the occupants to flee. Some women who were left behind were sexually assaulted,” the eyewitnesses said.
Nearby villagers who helped the victims are terrified because they believe the police and local officials will shield the criminals and come after them for testifying.
A nearby dhaba owner told reporters that 4 women hid inside his water tank to take refuge after several men were looking for women to rape.
He told the Tribune:
“We turned off the lights so as not to attract the attention of the goons. The hapless women remained there for hours till they were escorted out at daybreak.”
The police denied the allegations by stating them to be rumors however eyewitness accounts paint a different story.