Five men have been arrested for allegedly raping a 30-year-old woman in Rajasthan’s Pali in May, a month after another woman was similarly waylaid and sexually assaulted in Alwar, police said on Tuesday.
The men in Pali were arrested on Monday after the woman reported the crime to police on Sunday. The accused have been identified as Jitendra Banjara, 20, Govind Banjara, 20, Dinesh Banjara, 20, Mahendra Banjara, 22, and Sanjay Banjara, 25.
Police said the sexual assault took place on May 26 but the woman’s family approached them on Monday after one of the accused called them to demand money and threatened to circulate the video of the crime on social media.
The men allegedly stopped the woman and her neighbour, who were on their way to a temple in a motorcycle, in a deserted patch, gang-raped her and filmed the act. The men, who were in an inebriated condition, also beat them and held them captive.
“Initially, the victim was in shock and was afraid that if she reports the incident to police, the accused will make her video viral and didn’t file a complaint for six days,” circle officer of Pali city Narayan Dan said.
“When her husband, who is a labourer, came back on June 2, an FIR was lodged and the statement of the victim was registered and her medical examination was conducted,” Dan said.
The victim said in her complaint that while accused Jitendra and Mahendra sexually assaulted her, the rest beat up her neighbour and filmed the incident. The accused stopped torturing them when the two fell semi-conscious. They threatened the victims of making the video of the gang-rape viral if they talked about the incident.
The men also followed the victim for two kilometres. They stopped when the victims, who lost control over their motorcycle and fell on the road and many people gathered around them.
Dan, who is also investigating officer in the case, said that no video of sexual assault has been recovered so far.
“A video has been recovered but it’s not of the assault. In the video, the accused are threatening the victim and his neighbour and asking where they were going, why were they going and that they will tell everybody about the rape,” Dan added.
One of the accused also threatened the male victim and demanded Rs 5,000 from him saying that if he does not give the money he will make the video viral. When the man refused to yield, saying that he is a labourer and cannot arrange the money, the accused threatened him.
The accused were arrested on charges of gang rape, wrongful restraint and thrashing and other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.
In Alwar, five men had raped a married Dalit woman in front of her husband on April 26 in Thanagaji area of Alwar and later circulated the video of the crime on social media. All the accused have been arrested.
The Congress government in Rajasthan has faced criticism over lack of prompt action in the case. Rajasthan police allegedly delayed the filing of a First Information Report (FIR). An FIR was filed only after a purported video of the sexual assault began circulating on social media.
The incident triggered widespread protests in Alwar, Jaipur, Dausa and nearby areas.