MUMBAI/BHOPAL: Four Army jawans have been booked by the Pune Police for allegedly raping a deaf-mute woman on multiple occasions for over four years at the Military Hospital in Khadki near Pune.The 30-year-old survivor is a widow with a 12-year-old son. She worked as a Grade IV employee at the Military Hospital since 2014. According to her complaint, a jawan raped her while she was on night shift about four years ago. When she tried to lodge a complaint, her jawan supervisor joined the predator to rape her. Later, two other jawans sexually abused her, videographed the act and blackmailed her.
Finding no internal redress, the victim approached an NGO run by a couple based out of Indore in July last. They work for the welfare of hearing and speech impaired. The couple recorded her statement through sign language interpretation and helped lodge a complaint with the hospital commandant.
The victim also wrote to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Chief of Army Staff Gen Bipin Rawat. After they took serious note, a complaint was lodged at Indore on Monday and in Pune on Tuesday, said a senior police officer.
Sign language expert Monika Purohit, who along with husband Gyanendra Purohit helps the Indore police manage the helpline for the physically challenged, said: “the survivor learnt about our NGO and contacted us over Facebook in July, after which we reached out.”
The NGO helped her escalate the matter to the defence minister and the Army chief in August through mail along with all evidence, including the obscene video and pictures used for blackmail since 2015. “Her situation worsened after the death of husband (also deaf and mute) a year ago,” added Purohit.The survivor has been on day shift since the last three months.
‘Woman narrated ordeal with help of sign language’
“Just a few days back, we received e-mail from army officials, about the woman being free to lodge a criminal complaint with police in the matter, but owing to no proper sign language expert being there in Pune to help her, she came to Indore for our help to get a case lodged in Indore. We subsequently met the DIG in Indore on Monday, who helped her all possible support and informed about the entire matter to police higher-ups in Pune. Later, on Tuesday night, a team of sign language experts in Maharashtra which works with us helped the woman to lodge the case at Khadki police station in Pune,” added Purohit.
A case has been registered under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 376 for rape and 354 for molestation, said Rajendra Mohite, Senior Inspector at Khadki Police Station adding that an inquiry has also been initiated against the four accused jawans. The Southern Command of the Army too has formed a court of inquiry.