Last week, media discussed the very high profile case where Aryan Khan was given a clean chit In Cruise Drugs Case. Aryan had spent nearly a month at Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail in October – November 2021. Many journalists called for stringent action on wrongful arrest of a man. However, the same mainstream and digital media often overlooks the plight of a common man, when they want to hang him even before a conviction.
The case below is of two brothers from Mumbai – aged 19 and 20 years – who spent eight days in police lock up and four days in jail. Later, the accused were released on bail citing evidences that indicated them not being the actual culprits.
As per a detailed report by The Indian Express, Anil Chauhan (19) and Nilesh Chauhan (20) were booked by the Dharavi (Mumbai) police on May 11 for a gangrape of a 20-year-old woman. The woman had alleged that two persons had gangraped her at her residence between 4.30 pm to 5 pm on May 10. One of them had also shot a video of the incident.
Anil works in a salon, while Nilesh repairs printer cartridges. The duo stay in a chawl in Vile Parle with their parents. On May 10, when the alleged crime took place, the two had come from Vile Parle to Dharavi to attend their cousin’s wedding. On May 15 afternoon, they, along with their father Jugdev, were dragged in a police van by policemen dressed in plain clothes and brought to Dharavi police station without being informed why they have been detained.
Later on the personal intervention by Mumbai Joint Commissioner of Police (Law & Order) Vishwas Nangre-Patil, both brothers were released on bail, after police learnt of wrongly arresting them in the gang rape case.
The Bandra court on Thursday granted temporary bail to them, after the police told the court that they had not found any evidence against the siblings. Following this, Nangre-Patil ordered an inquiry into the matter, asking the local police to submit a report.
Statement by Police
The police said that based on the woman identifying the two brothers on CCTV footage, the two were arrested and allegedly they confessed to the crime. Two days later, the family members of the siblings and local activists protested outside the police commissioner’s office and also met CP Nangre-Patil.
During the protest, the family alleged that they had CCTV footage that showed on May 10, the two brothers were in Vile Parle around 5 pm, while the rape took place in central suburbs around 4.30 pm.
Statement by Father
Jagdev Chauhan, the father of the youths, told The Indian Express,
It is not possible for one person to travel this distance in such a short time.
The family also pointed out two CCTV footages, based on which the brothers had been picked up by the police, shows them crossing the lane where the victim resided. The father added,
They pass by the lane in under five minutes as per the footage from CCTV cameras installed at the two ends of the lane. It is a long lane and it is not possible for one to cross it and rape a woman within five minutes.
Statement by Boys After Release
On Saturday, after the brothers were released from jail, they told media that the police stripped them naked and beat them up, forcing them to confess to the crime.
At the police station, Anil was taken to a room and assaulted with belts. I stood outside, horrified, listening to my brother’s cries. I heard the policemen hurling abuse and beating him up. I started crying listening to his screams.
The police showed me a CCTV camera clip and shouted at me. I got scared and was unable to recollect what I was doing there. They then started beating me up. I confessed to the crime to avoid more assault. I said ‘I raped her and my brother shot a video’.
Nilesh also said,
They said ‘Anil has confessed, now you speak the truth’. The policemen stripped us naked and put some kind of oil on our head, body and private parts. We suffered burning sensations and dizziness. They slapped me multiple times and my left ear went numb. They said they will castrate my brother.
I told them ‘I will die but not confess’. As they kept beating me with belts, I chanted the names of my parents and God. Next day, we were taken to Bandra court and I was prepared to say ‘I was falsely implicated and assaulted’ but no one asked us anything. I have six elder sisters, I cannot even think of hurting a woman.
Social Worker Comes To Rescue
Kiran Mhase, a Dharavi resident, who is also a social worker and a family friend, offered help. Kiran told The Indian Express,
The police took all the DVRs of the CCTV cameras in our area. I managed to get CCTV footage of the entry and exit points of the lane where the victim stays. It showed that the two brothers entered the lane at 5.49 pm and exited at 5.53 pm.
I requested local corporator Vasant Nakase to come with me to the police station on May 16. But the Dharavi police did not help. An officer said they will soon file a chargesheet and the boys will get bail. That’s all he can do.
Then we decided to go to the DCP, but someone showed me a video byte that he had given to the media on the case. So, we decided to approach Vishwas Nangre-Patil on May 18.
I went to his office with several women from the community. He said if the two are innocent, he will ensure that they are not punished. The next day, he reached the Dharavi police station. Only because of him the two are now out on bail.
After Patil’s intervention, the Dharavi police submitted a report in the court saying it does not have sufficient evidence against the brothers, paying the way for their bail. A press note was issued by the police after the arrests, which read:
Based on just two seconds of CCTV footage, a sub-inspector and the anti-criminal squad traced the accused in Vile Parle.
The matter is being re-investigated now.
Speaking with Voice For Men India, Swarup Sarkar,who heads Save Family Foundation – Men’s Rights NGO in New Delhi, said,
Enough is enough, its time for Men to wake up against such injustice. Government and system have taken the silence of Male Gender for granted. As a result, today many boys and even men are abused, beaten, killed, encountered, shamed, blackmailed, extorted in the name of women centric laws, only to be acquitted at a later stage.
Article 21 speaks about Life & Liberty of a person with Dignity. It is the duty of the police to protect every citizen’s Life & Liberty with Dignity, irrespective of the Gender. The state is expected to be fair and not barbaric on any innocent citizen.
However, as per the statement given by the brothers in this case, the police manhandled them exceeding their powers. How can Men expect fair justice if this will be the attitude of the police themselves?
The case above also raises serious questions why a medical test is not done and how Men are arrested on mere testimony of the woman.
Recently, we also read about the Hyderabad Encounter in Disha Rape Case being concluded as false. Even in this case, one may never know, if the four men killed were actual rapists.
This is the main reason, we urge all netizens not to cheer encounters or instant “justice”. While police may nab the real culprits correctly most of the times, there will be many Anils and Nileshs who could become victims of outrage, pressuring the police to arrest anyone at once.
— Voice For Men India (Previously Men's Day Out) (@voiceformenind) May 30, 2022
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