Visuals of Hindu activists having heated arguments with Rajasthan police are making rounds on the internet. The reason behind the anger is the death of a Dalit woman, a mother of four in the Barmer district of Rajasthan.
This woman Jhamma Devi was set ablaze by Shakur Khan after rape on April 6. She was taken to a private hospital in Balotra where she died on April 7.
The police did not register a case at first, it was only after the intervention of Hindu activists and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members that a case was registered.
The accused has been arrested.
The First Information Report names Shakur as the culprit
A First Information Report (number–89/2023) was registered at the Pachpadra police station of the Barmer district on April 7 by the victim’s husband Raju Ram.
He told the police that he lives with his family in Sodho ki Dhani Bagundi village and works in Balotra. He goes to Balotra every day for his work. On April 6, he received a call around 3 pm from one of his neighbours Om Ram Sanchi.
Om Ram told him that, Shakur Khan raped his wife, Jhamma Devi and set her on fire. He raped her and then poured thinner to set her on fire. After Jhamma Devi started screaming for help Saguna Devi, Mangal Ram, Chanda Devi and others came out for help and the accused managed to escape.
They all took Jhamma Devi to Nahata Hospital in Balotra and informed the same to Raju Ram.
Jhamma Devi told her husband that after he left home and the kids went to school, Shakur Khan barged into the house around 1 pm. He forcefully took her to a room in their house, removed her skirt and inner wears and raped her against her wishes.
Jhamma Devi screamed for help while Shakur was raping her, Saguna Devi from their neighbourhood came running to her house but Shakur pushed her onto the floor and opened a bottle of thinner and lit the matchstick to burn her alive.
Then Jhamma Devi and Saguna Devi screamed and other neighbours assembled, by then the accused ran away. The neighbours brought her to the hospital.
No sections for murder imposed in the FIR
The Station House officer, Pachpadra police station told the organiser weekly that they have arrested the accused Shakur Khan and he is currently under police custody. He cut the call saying no comments can be made as of now as the investigations are on.
He added, as per the victim’s statement, they have registered a case under sections 450 (house trespass), 376(1) (Rape), 326A (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by use of an acid) and sections 3(2)(v) and 3(1)(w)(ii) of the Prevention of Atrocities act, commonly referred to as the SC-ST Act.
The victim belongs to Sansi Janjati
This correspondent called Raju Ram on April 8 after the victim was dead. He said, the accused barged into his house to rape and kill his wife.
Shakur is married and has four children. He sprinkled thinner on his wife to set her on fire after which she died.
He has been following Jhamma Devi as he barged into their house twice before April 6. He recently learned about this, said Raju Ram.
Raju Ram works as a labourer at a factory that makes ‘Sitar’ (a musical instrument) he says he does ‘Suthari’ work at the factory. On asking what it means he says, he prepares Sitar, his work involves the preparation of the bamboo base for Sitar.
Raju Ram belongs to the Sanchi Jati, it is read as Sansi in Rajasthan, a tribe that falls under the scheduled caste category.
Raju says his father and forefathers have been preparing Sitar only.
He has four children two daughters and two sons, all of them go to school, and the eldest of them is 14 years old.
Well, Raju said, they have not brought the dead body of Jhamma Devi home as they have certain demands from the administration. Asking what were they.
He said he wants the accused to be hanged. He wants compensation money from the Rajasthan government and education for his children.
Raju said, the village they live in has only one Muslim family, they have eight-nine houses he said, all belong to one family. Shakur lives in their neighbourhood only. It is a Dalit basti.
He said Jhamma Devi was burnt fifty per cent when he saw her in the hospital.
Owing to the lackadaisical behaviour of the police the Hindu activists including BJP leader Madan Prajapat protested against the administration on April 7. It was only after their protest a case was registered.
Rajasthan: Dalit woman Jhamma Devi raped and burnt alive by accused Shakur Khan in Badmer.
While asking police to act on the perpetrator, BJP members had a heated exchange with the police after Jhamma Devi died in the hospital. pic.twitter.com/hvbVzrMAZa
— Organiser Weekly (@eOrganiser) April 8, 2023
A similar case was reported in Bihar
Notably, a similar case was reported from Bihar in December last year where Danish Alam set Archana Kushwaha on fire after she refused to continue her affair with him.
The incident was reported from Devpura Parsa village of Motihari district in East Champaran.
In this case, a first information report (FIR) was filed at Kalyanpur police station on December 15, 2021, the day of the crime (number 342/2022). The complainant was Archana Kumari herself.
Based on the complaint, the police booked Danish under IPC sections 307 (murder), 341 (wrongful restraint), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 324 (hurting by dangerous weapon), 328 (causing hurt by means of poison), 354B (assault), 504 (intentionally insult) and 506 (criminal intimidation).
Archana’s statement in the FIR claimed that she was sleeping when Danish barged into her house with a can of petrol. He tried to rape her. When she resisted, he poured petrol on her and, using a burning wooden log from the earthen stove, set her on fire. When she raised an alarm, neighbours and relatives gathered and chased him away.