INSEC Calls for a Thorough Investigation into Alleged Rape of Female Detainee in Custody

  September 9, 2023 By: INSEC

The Informal Service Center (INSEC) has called for a thorough investigation into the alleged rape of a 35-year-old female detainee while in the custody of the Saptari District Police Office, Kanchanpur, reportedly by DSP Deepak Kumar Rai.

A fact-finding report compiled by an on-site study team, led by INSEC and comprised of representatives from various organizations, was released in Kathmandu on September 8. INSEC has urged for an immediate commencement of the process to record a statement from the arrested woman, who claimed to have been raped in the presence of female police officers. The incident demands a comprehensive inquiry.

The fact-finding report documented that the victim made a statement to health officers at Jajdendra Narayan Singh Hospital during a health check-up on March 20, 2023. She alleged that DSP Deepak Kumar Rai had sexually assaulted her twice under the pretext of questioning at the local police office in Kanchanpur on the night of April 25, 2023. She had been detained on a charge of homicide.

Upon publishing the report, INSEC has also called for the deployment of female police officers for the security of women’s detention cells in all police offices across the country. This demand comes in light of the serious nature of rape incidents involving female detainees within police custody.

According to the report, there is suspicion that Deepak Kumar Rai, DSP of Area Police Office, Kanchanpur, Saptari, may have committed sexual violence against the woman in custody, in violation of legal provisions that prohibit sexual acts by individuals using their position, power, or authority under any form of pressure, influence, or temptation. It is suspected that the incident occurred because the police authorities summoned the detained woman for a statement during nighttime.

The responsibility for investigating the victim’s accusations lies with both the police and the state, particularly after obtaining the statement of the woman who was in custody throughout the day.

Dr. Kundan Aryal, Chairperson of INSEC, expressed concern that instead of conducting a thorough investigation by the police and other agencies, the police administration appears to be protecting the accused. Aryal emphasized the gravity of the crime, stating that those involved should be immediately removed from their positions and subject to a fair investigation and legal action.

Likewise, Dr. Renu Adhikari, Chairperson of the Women’s Rehabilitation Center (WOREC), mentioned that the victim was allegedly forcibly raped by DSP Rai. She stated that he had reportedly silenced the victim by muffling her mouth, taken her out of the detention cell, and assaulted her in his office while threatening her with a potential 20-year prison sentence if she spoke about the incident.

Although the officer had informed the District Police Chief, SP Narendra KC, about the incident, the victim faced questioning regarding the delay in filing a complaint, causing her further distress.

Furthermore, INSEC Saptari district representative Manohar Kumar Pokharel reported that when he brought the victim’s case to light, he faced violence from the police. Pokharel stressed that given the serious nature of the allegations against the responsible police officer, the authorities should investigate the matter with sensitivity and a heightened sense of responsibility. He emphasized that the incident must be thoroughly investigated, and the accused must be held accountable based on the various pieces of evidence presented.

Bimal Poudel