THEME 5: ROLE OF MODERN TECHNOLOGY IN FUELING FEUDAL, CASTEIST POWER DYNAMICS
CASE STUDY: TERRORIZING WOMEN WITH THE THREAT OF PUBLICIZING PHOTOGRAPHS
Ritu (name changed)
State: Uttar Pradesh
Date of the incident: January 2021
Age of the victim: 21
Ritu’s mother had gone to her farm to cut mustard plants. When she came back home in the afternoon, she discovered that Ritu, who who was 21 years-old, was missing and could not be found anywhere. When Ritu did not return home the next day, her mother filed a police complaint naming the accused, but no action was taken.
Ritu’s mother knew that Ritu had been very fearful and upset due to the continuous harassment that she faced from the accused. He had even taken her photographs and photoshopped vulgar images on them. He continued to threaten to make these public, in order to shame her. Ritu had confided to her mother about this, and pleaded that she wished to go away to another place to escape this harassment. She had also told her mother that she feared for her life and that the accused would kill her.
Ritu’s mother had gone to the accused’s uncle’s house, who is also the village Pradhan, and pleaded in front of him with folded hands, crying and requesting to leave her daughter alone, “let her live in peace and please do not dishonour her. We are very poor.” But the pradhan had replied, “Once there is a mark on her, it is not going to leave her,” sending her back. That same day, the drunk accused had come to Ritu’s home and hurled filthy abuses against her family, threatening her that he will make sure that no-one marries her. He also threatened to rape her, her sisters and her mother.
A few days after she went missing, when Ritu’s body was found 400 metres from her house in a pond, the police arrested the accused. However, after taking out her body from the pond the police did not send it for a post-mortem examination. They hastily concluded that the victim had died due to drowning. The police did not allow the family members to touch the body. 3 doctors were changed before the exam was done.
The media did not report the case with honesty and tried to save the accused in the case. Till date, no case has been registered against him under the Atrocities Act, nor has the family received any compensation from the government.
With constant pressure from the accused and his family, FIR has not been lodged till date, they are constantly issuing threats to kill the victim’s family members. The accused has been set free. The family is living in fear but they are also determined to get justice for their daughter.