//Rajasthan rape victim awaits justice

Rajasthan rape victim awaits justice

January 25, 2006 (Jaipur):The alleged gangrape of an Anganwadi worker in Rajasthan by two government employees of the Woman And Child Welfare Department has shaken the administration.

Lacho Devi, a tribal woman from Karauli district, was allegedly raped by senior officials while she was attending a 10-day programme for Anganwadi workers in Karauli on December 30, 2005But it is only now that a case has been registered after pressure from social activists and women’s groups.

Recovering from trauma –Lacho Devi is still recovering in a Jaipur hospital from the trauma she underwent last year. She claims she was woken up in the middle of the night and taken by Dayawati, a supervisor, to another room where she was given something to eat."The supervisor came to me and said senior officers were calling me. I went along not suspecting anything. Lokesh gave me something to eat. I lost consciousness, and then I was raped repeatedly," said Lacho Devi.Although Lacho Devi was quietly taken to a hospital in Karauli, her family was informed only on January 2.Since Lacho Devi was being prescribed heavy sedatives, she could not tell her family about the rape.It was only on January 17 that the family finally got to know about the extent of the crime and when they went to register an FIR, they were sent away.

FIR registered–Pressure from social groups finally forced the police to register an FIR in the case.
"Women are being exploited in the name of a government scheme. If the matter is investigated, many more women will come out and speak. This case came to light only because this woman’s health deteriorated," said Kailash Meena, Social Activist.The medical examination after the FIR was registered has indicated rape and it is only now that a stream of senior government officials are visiting Lacho Devi and promising action in the matter."I have asked the police to send somebody else to conduct investigations," said Gulab Chand Katariya, Home Minister, Rajasthan. But Lacho Devi’s family claims they are being pressurised to hush up the matter since two senior government employees are involved