Attempted rape of Chin refugee woman in New Delhi
A Chin refugee woman who bravely fought off a local Indian man who attempted to rape her has been denied justice.
The victim reported to the Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) that the unknown local man broke into her home in New Delhi in the middle of the night on 29 April 2014, while she and her family were sleeping. She described how she woke up to the intruder trying to sexually assault her. She said, “I tried to fight him off as hard as I could. In his attempts to overcome me, he grabbed my arms and pressed them roughly against the wall. I started shouting, and my mother got up quickly from her bed and came to my side to help me. The man tried to escape, but I grabbed on to one hand as hard as I could to try and stop him escaping. He grabbed my neck with his other hand and squeezed it to make me lose strength, and he managed to get away.”
The intruder ran out onto the terrace and tried to escape by jumping onto the roof of another building. But the alarm had been raised and local Indian neighbors – who reportedly believed him to be a thief – quickly ran after the culprit and caught him, and beat him badly.
Police on night duty arrived on the scene in a van. The local Indian neighbors who had caught the man and beat him talked to the police and told them he was a thief. The police assumed this to be true, and since the culprit was injured, they took him to the hospital.
The victim told CHRO, “The police deliberately ignored me and paid no attention to my account of the ugly sequence of events, even though I appealed to them and said I wanted to report the incident. Since I was in mental and physical pain due to the fight that I put up, I wanted to receive medical attention and help. I requested the police to write me a letter confirming that I was indeed wronged by the culprit who intruded into our house at night and that I should be given appropriate help. I broke down and cried as the police officers just shrugged off my appeal.”
The next morning at 5:30 am, two police officers and the victim’s landlord came to her home and asked her not to file a formal complaint. The victim reported to CHRO, “I politely told them I would seek the advice of UNHCR and its implementing partners before making a decision. But to my dismay, the landlord and the police officers kept insisting that I must not file a complaint, and so in the end I gave in to their pressure and they left.”
After facing this pressure, on 1 May 2014 the victim went to the police station together with officers from UNHCR implementing partner the Social Legal Information Centre (SLIC). At the police station, in the presence of the culprit and his family, the landlord, and police officers, the woman signed a document in Hindi, which she cannot read. However, it was explained to her that the document said that the culprit had broken into her home but did not steal anything, and that she is not willing to press charges against him.
Earlier this year, CHRO highlighted discrimination and systematic failings by the police, the Indian legal system, UNHCR and its implementing partners in seeking justice and redress for refugee victims of sexual violence in New Delhi.