Sunday, August 25, 2013

Two more held for gangrape, cop folly let another slip away


THREE IN NET, TWO MORE TO GO

If Resisted, They Planned To Kill Photojournalists 

 

S Ahmed Ali and Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The city police on Saturday made two more arrests — Vijay Jadhav (19) and Siraj Khan (26) — in connection with the gangrape of a 22-year-old photojournalist that has sparked nationwide protests. The total number of arrests now is three, but it could easily have been four. One of the accused, Qasim Shaikh (20), escaped because he was unwittingly alerted by a police constable.
    Investigations have also revealed that the five accused had planned to kill the photojournalist as well as her male colleague if they had resisted.
 
    Late on Thursday evening, Qasim, after having committed the crime with four of his friends, was watching TV at his hutment in Agripada when a constable named Mujawar called him on his mobile phone. “The policeman asked him where he was and said he wanted to make some enquiries,” Qasim’s mother, Chand Bibi, told TOI.   Qasim immediately changed his shirt, borrowed Rs 50 from his mother and left. He has been untraceable since.
 
    “I kept asking him where he was going in the night, but he said he’d return soon. Hours later, some policemen came to my hutment and, after having inquired about him, warned me not to inform him of their visit,” Bibi said. Qasim has three previous cases of assault and theft against him.
 
    While Chand Shaikh, the first arrested accused, and Vijay Jadhav were produced before the holiday court in Bhoiwada on Saturday and remanded in police custody till August 30, Siraj Khan, initially identified as Ashfaque, will be produced before the court on Sunday. The case has been transferred to the crime branch. 
 
 RR’s midnight visit Home minister R R Patil made a midnight visit to the NM Joshi Marg police station and supervised the interrogation of a key accused in the case. P 3 
 
 Call her survivor, not victim Several women’s groups and activists have told us that they strongly believe that those who have survived rape should be described as ‘survivors’, and not ‘victims’. There is merit in this suggestion. Unlike those who become victims of other violent crimes, those who are raped are stigmatized in our society, possibly because of the assumption that they must in some way have ‘invited’ the offence or taken undue risks. That is certainly not how anybody should see this crime, but sadly that is how it is seen by many. This often prevents her from picking up the pieces of her life and rebuilding it. We feel the TOI can contribute in a small way to changing this mindset by using the word ‘survivor’ instead of ‘victim’, suggesting that rape was no more invited than, say, cancer. We have decided, therefore, to refer to those who have been forced to undergo the ordeal as ‘survivors’.  
 
Rapists used aliases at time of crime 
 Jadhav was arrested at 3am on Saturday from a video club at Dagad chawl in Madanpura, where he fell asleep after watching a 9pm movie. Khan was picked up around 4pm from a slum in Govandi where he had fled. 

    Jadhav lives with a friend at the latter’s tenement at Ramji Barucha Marg, behind Dhobi Ghat at Agripada. Khan lives in Madanpura. Khan is homeless and lives on a footpath at Agripada.
 
    Police said investigations had revealed that the accused had decided to kill the boy and the girl just in case things got out of hand.  During interrogation, Chand Shaikh told police that Jadhav and Salim (the fifth accused, who is on the run) had hatched the rape conspiracy.
 
    Chand said that on Thursday evening, Jadhav and Salim were on one side of the deserted Shakti Mills compound at Mahalaxmi, while he, Khan and Qasim (the second accused) were on the other side.  Around 5.30 pm, Jadhav and Salim saw the survivor and her male colleague enter the mill compound.
 
    The rape survivor has told the police that she had almost finished taking pictures when two of the accused accosted them. They told the girl and the boy that their boss had seen them taking pictures on private property without permission, and that they would have to meet the boss. The girl asked the accused to give her the boss’s mobile number so that she could talk to him, but the accused told her she had to come along with them.
 
    “At this point, Jadhav and Salim called up Chand on his mobile and asked him and the other two friends to come over to the other side. As soon as they reached the spot, the five planned the sexual assault,” said a police officer.
 
    The five decided to use fictitious names in front of the girl and the boy to conceal identity. While Salim used the name Sajid, Khan became Ashfaque, and Chand was called Rupesh (this was the reason Chand, during interrogation, gave Siraj Khan’s name as Ashfaque to the police).
 
    The rape survivor said in her statement, “One accused told my colleague that a few days ago, a man had been murdered at that spot and that my colleague was the murderer. I pleaded with them to let us go, but they threatened me. They then took us deep inside the mill compound. We offered them our camera and I-phone (worth Rs 30,000 each) and pleaded with them to leave us. They just told us to take off our belts. They then tied my friend’s hands with the belts. Three of the accused stayed with my friend, while the other two took me behind a wall.”
 
    The survivor, at that point, got a phone call from her mother. “The accused threatened me with a broken bottle and said I should tell my mom everything was fine. I did what they asked me to. My mother again called, and the accused again made me tell her everything was ok. Since it happened twice, the accused snatched my phone and switched it off,” she said.
 
    When the police questioned Chand what their plan was in case the survivor had raised an alarm, Chand said they may have killed her male colleague to scare her. If that did not help, they would have killed the girl herself, he said. 

    Chand said as they succeeded in subduing the girl, they felt they could get away by clicking her pictures and threatening her that they would make the photos public if she complained. They never thought she would approach the police.

SATURDAY ARRESTS


VIJAY JADHAV (19) Second arrest. Stayed in Dhobi Ghat while his family lives in Virar. Had been hiding with friends in Madanpura. He left and went to a video club at Dagad chawl in the same area on Friday. Tipped off, police picked him up from there around 3am on Saturday. Arrested in 2011 in a housebreaking case


SIRAJ KHAN (26) Third arrest. Lived on the footpath at Agripada near Dhobi Ghat and did odd jobs. Fled after the crime. Nabbed on Saturday evening after Chand and Vijay spilled beans about possible hideout in a Govandi slum. Booked in a case of assault in 2011


CHAND SHAIKH First accused to be arrested. Picked up from Dhobi Ghat slum home around 3am on Friday. Grandmother claims he is a juvenile


ON THE RUN
QASIM SHAIKH (20) Used to live in a hutment in Agripada with his mother. Three previous cases of assault and theft registered against him. Fled soon after
the crime on Thursday after a constable called him on the phone and asked him to report as he wanted to make a few enquiries


Salim

Qasim’s mother outside her home 
 
The Times of India, August 25, 2013

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