Two weeks after a 20-year-old blind woman was allegedly raped in a shanty in central Delhi’s Karol Bagh, her uncle was found hanging from a tree outside her home on Thursday, the police said.
The dead man, who drove a cycle rickshaw for a living, was the sole wage earner in a family that included the fatherless rape survivor and her 55-year-old mother.
On Thursday, the survivor told Hindustan Times she wants to withdraw the rape case and return to her village in Uttar Pradesh because there is no one left in the family to pursue a long legal battle.
The police remained unsure about the trigger for the alleged suicide, but the rape survivor said her 45-year-old uncle was traumatised by the crime and would cry about it every night after returning from work.
Neighbours said the man was also angry with the police for arresting just one suspect and “letting off” two others despite the survivor saying that she had been gang raped by “two-three” men. The police insisted that the rape was committed by only one man.
“Every night, my uncle would drink and cry about what had happened to me,” said the survivor. “He was the one running to the police station each time. He wanted all the men involved in the rape to be punished,” said her mother.
On Wednesday, the man had his drink and dinner before going to bed. “When I walked out of home at 5 am, I found him hanging from a high branch of a tree. We depended on him for everything. He was the only person in our family who could make calls. My daughter and I can’t even dial 100, we can only receive calls,” said the mother.
The rape took place on May 4 when the young woman was sitting alone on an abandoned cart outside her shanty. The door to the hut was burned in a fire recently. Her mother had gone to fetch water from a nearby restaurant, and her uncle was at work. She alleged that a local e-rickshaw driver had dragged her into a shanty where one or two men were already present. “The moment I was forced into the jhuggi, one of them gagged me,” she said, adding that she was gang raped by two-three men over a 20-minute period.
The police quickly arrested an e-rickshaw driver, identified as Chotu Pal, after the survivor identified him from his voice. MS Randhawa,DCP (central), told HT at the time that two other men were standing guard outside the shanty. They were detained for questioning, but later let off. On Thursday, however, the DCP said there was “some confusion” . “The victim has told the magistrate in her statement that there was only one man. We have gone by her statement and the contents of the FIR,” said the DCP.
The survivor claimed that after the crime, the police had asked her how many perpetrators she could identify. “I said I heard only one of them talking, so the police said there was only one man. There were more people in the shanty, but they weren’t speaking,” she said