Three years after Muzaffarnagar riots, gang-rape survivors face death threats, trial delays
A new Amnesty report reveals how seven rape survivors who chose to report their sexual assaults were let down by the police, government and the courts.In September 2013, communal riots in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts killed 60 people and displaced thousands of Muslim families. While the riots were widely reported across the country, it took a while for the stories of sexual violence to emerge.
In the days after the riots, journalists and human rights activists working in relief camps came across scores of Muslim women who spoke of being raped or gang-raped by Hindu men during the clashes, but were unwilling to file police complaints because of the social stigma attached to sexual violence.
After a few days, seven women approached the police and reported being gang-raped by Jat men during the riots. They were promised swift justice and the Uttar Pradesh government set up a special investigative team to look into their cases.
More than three years later, swift justice seems like a pipe dream for these women. A new report by Amnesty India, the human rights organisation, reveals that ever since they approached the police, all seven women have faced threats, harassment and pressure to change their statements or withdraw their cases.
The report, titled Losing Faith: The Muzaffarnagar gang rape survivors’ struggle for justice, points out that the state government has failed to protect the women from threats and intimidation and has not even kept them informed about the status of their cases. [. . .]
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