Brutal Sikar gangrape: Have all our systems collapsed?

There's horror and then there's the Sikar gangrape case of Rajasthan in which a 11-year-old was brutally gangraped and left for dead in a field, while the police continues to build its case against the two prime accused.

The 11-year-old hails from a family of little means that shifted to Sikar district of Rajasthan from Bihar after her father died, since one of her sisters had been living there after marriage. Her mother worked in a nearby plastic factory and she would often accompany her mother to work being the youngest of seven children, consisting of six girls and a boy, reports the Indian Express.

On 20 August 2012, she and her sisters had gone to watch a film and while they were returning to their house, a jeep pulled up next to them and one of the men inside the jeep reached for one of the girls, but failed to grab her. Another, however, did manage to grab hold of the 11-year-old and they sped off, dragging the girl reportedly for around half a kilometre before pulling her in.

Protests against the Delhi rape case has prompted a nation-wide debate over security of women. PTI

She was then held down in the rear seat of the jeep while the two men allegedly raped her multiple times before dumping her in a field the next morning.

After she was found and taken to a local hospital, doctors advised shifting her to a Jaipur hospital due to the extent of her injuries.

The girl was found to have a complete perineal tear, there was no partition of muscles between her vagina and rectum, due to the rape  and doctors reportedly had to use a bit of her large intestine to create a new rectum.

"When she was brought here, her vaginal tract was heavily contaminated and damaged so we had to perform a colostomy, or her wounds would never have healed,” a paediatric surgeon told the Hindu.

The girl has undergone over 10 surgeries, including five major ones, since being taken to Jaipur but doctors are skeptical about her recovery even if she is discharged from hospital and sent home given the mental trauma she has undergone.

The girl after her fifth major surgery on 12 January could be released from hospital within a week, doctors said.

"It might take a couple of months more for the girl to recover. The injuries will get healed, but I don't know how she will be prepared to cope up with the mental trauma after she is discharged," a doctor who was treating her was quoted as saying in a Times of India report.

The widespread publicity of the case also resulted in Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar speaking with his counterpart Ashok Gehlot about ensuring the best possible treatment for the girl. Governor Margaret Alva also visited the girl and her family and gave them a cash donation.

However, even the political pressure hasn't ensured the trial has been as smooth or fast as one would expect with the trial still having to begin five months later. The police has arrested the two alleged rapists in the case - Suresh Jat and Ramesh Sharma- and four others who are accused of sheltering and aiding the accused. However, two of accused are reportedly out on bail, and the family has accused the rapists' family of offering them cash and even threatening them to withdraw the case against them.

“A couple of months ago, we got threats with an offer to take Rs 10 lakh and withdraw the complaint...My sister has undergone so much pain, we will not compromise," the girl's sister was quoted as saying in the Indian Express report.

The family has also reportedly suffered the stigma against rape in India with one of the daughter's engagements being called off after the incident.

The horror of the Sikar case perhaps only highlights further the need for widespread reform needed in tackling crimes against women and the need to ensure speedy justice in such cases. Unlike the Delhi case in which a 23-year-old was brutally gangraped and assaulted, eventually leading to her death, the Sikar case failed to go beyond the state's borders when it came to outrage or our national political leaders speaking against it. It is time to change that.

Updated Date: Jan 17, 2013 11:49 AM

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