Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Seven men framed on false rape charges

Cops yet to find the brain behind false rape case against SSB

Lucknow: It is almost two weeks since seven men of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) in Shrawasti district were booked for raping four girls. After medical tests on the girls and the subsequent interrogations, the police concluded that they had been framed. But they have been unable to catch the perpetrators of the crime yet.

District Superintendent of Police M D Karnadhar, who agrees that the rape case “was a conspiracy against the SSB”, says he has asked his Additional SP “to identify those who were involved in this incident.” He says he has also put the local intelligence unit on the job.

For the SSB, it is a test case.

They allege that in the past, their men have often been targeted by elements involved in undesirable activities along the border. These elements, often influential, use their political contacts to lodge false complaints against SSB men — both in Lucknow and Delhi. But this is the first time a false criminal case was lodged against them.

A resident of Fatehpur Bangai, Hamid Ali, had alleged that seven SSB men had forced their way into his home on the night of November 25 and raped four girls, holding other members of the joint family at gunpoint. The politicians had lost no time in organising demonstrations against SSB.

But no sooner than the investigation began, the case started falling apart.

First, three of the girls, while being taken for a medical examination, denied that they had been raped. The medical examination of the fourth showed no evidence of rape. Nor did the police find any sign of forced entry in the house.

The police are now convinced that Ali had lodged a false case at somebody behest, but they seem to be in no hurry to find out who was behind it.

For the SSB men, this soft-pedalling of the issue is not surprising. The men named in the case were all from SSB post at Bhinga, which had become a thorn in the side of some locally influential people.

An officer pointed out that in August, the state Government had withdrawn the SSB’s powers of search and seizure and making arrests in border villages following unsubstantiated complaints from certain politicians, including BSP legislator Waris Ali.

In a statement announcing its decision, the government had virtually called the SSB a force of cattle smugglers.

Another officer in the SSB said they were targeted because the SSB’s presence hits the economic interest of certain elements. “Further, the smuggling in border areas has got a certain social sanction and is known as ‘trade’. The smugglers control the economy as their operations involve a large number of poor people,” he said.