NEW DELHI: A group of human rights activists on Monday contested the police theory of suicide behind the death of a 22-year-old Manipur girl whose body was found at her residence in Chirag Delhi in May.
A S Reingamphi was found in a pool of blood at her rented accommodation on May 29. There were severe injuries on her eyes, nose and legs. The police has maintained that these were caused by rodents. Four months on, no arrests have been made. Reingamphi’s friends and family have alleged murder and sexual assault and expressed dissatisfaction with the way the crime branch of Delhi Police has proceeded with the investigations. The viscera report issued by the Forensic Science Laboratory found no traces of poison or drugs in the body, they say.
On August 8, the victim’s cousin AS Chirmayo moved the Delhi high court with a writ petition asking for the case to be transferred to the CBI.
Amiy Shukla, who works with the Human Rights Law Network that is looking into Chirmayo’s petition, said that the investigation has been problematic since the beginning. “The scene of crime was not sealed. No fingerprints or pictures were taken from there,” she says.
Activists also alleged discrepancy in the post mortem report by Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC), the second in this case. Page 11 of the report says that it can’t be ascertained if the injuries occurred before or after death. Page 14 of the same report says the bleeding pattern was from the face was post death. They also raised strong objections to MAMC having conducted a “two-finger test” on the victim’s body, to ascertain if she was “habituated” to sexual intercourse — something that the Justice Verma Committee held has no bearing when ascertaining sexual assault.
Chirmayo alleges that she was being stalked and harassed by her landlord and his brother in law. “We mentioned that in the FIR as well. The viscera and histopathological report found human semen on her torn clothes. Now, the police status report says there were rodent footprints around her body. There have been two postmortems already. But we still don’t know the cause of her death,” he says.
The case was transferred to the crime branch in June after an intervention from Delhi’s minister of women and child development Kiran Walia back. “This is after the 16 December case, after the police reforms, and after the ordinance. Stalking is now a punishable offence. The police were pulled up for refusing to file FIRs. Yet, it took 300 people picketing outside Malviya Nagar police station for 27 hours simply to get an FIR registered,” says Nandini Rao of Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS).
This incident joins the growing list of cases of sexual violence against those from India’s north-eastern states. May 2005 saw the gangrape of a BPO employee from Mizoram. The main accused in the case is absconding. A 19-year-old Manipuri woman was raped and murdered in October 2009 allegedly by a PhD scholar from IIT.