The makers of the film ‘Ajmer 92’ dropped the poster of the film today (May 26). The poster throws attention to the plight of the women in the city back in 1992. It’s a gut-wrenching tale of families that were torn apart in the wake of unspeakable crimes against women.
Pushpendra Singh is directing the film, while Umesh Kumar Tiwari is the producer and Reliance Entertainment in association with U & K Films Entertainment, Sumit Motion Pictures and Little Crew Pictures is producing the film. The film is set to release on July 14, this year.
The makers while talking about the film with the media said, “I am grateful for being a part of such an important project. This project is important because societies need to timely re-affirm their unwavering support towards women and ‘Ajmer-92’ exactly does that,” said Pushpendra Singh.
Umesh Kumar Tiwari, producer of the film, added, “I believe it is essential to tell such stories to empower our youth. Through ‘Ajmer-92’, we want our young girls, in fact, the entire youth, to etch the fact in their minds that good shall always triumph over evil.”
The plot of the film is inspired by true events and is based on the famous ‘Ajmer Rape Case of 92’.
More than 100 girls in their teens and early twenties were gang-raped repeatedly and subjected to blackmail in Ajmer, Rajasthan, in 1992. These cases are often called as Ajmer rape case of 92.
A group of young men led by Farooq and Nafis Chishty, two prominent Khadim family members who also handled the caretaking of the Ajmer Sharif Dargah. Victims were enticed into a rural farmhouse or cottage over a period of years, concluding in 1992, where they were sexually raped by one or more men. In addition, the offenders also collected and revealed the victims’ naked or exposed photos as leverage in a blackmail scheme to keep the women silent.
A local newspaper, Dainik Navajyoti, published an article detailing the crimes’ circumstances and including some of the photos the rapists had taken, which brought the incident to light. Police started an investigation into the affair at the same time. The local government reportedly knew about the incidents for up to a year before but decided to delay pursuing legal action.
As many as 18 serial offenders were charged in court in September 1992. The first eight defendants to stand trial received life sentences; however, the Rajasthan High Court later exonerated four of them in 2001. Farooq Chishti was found guilty in 2007 by a fast-track court in Ajmer, but he was discharged on time served in 2013 by the High Court.
“The accused were in a position of influence, both socially and financially, and that made it even more difficult to persuade the girls to come forward and depose,” claims retired Rajasthan D.G.P. Omendra Bhardwaj, who was then assigned as the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajmer.
In this case, the Supreme Court said, “Unfortunately, many of the victims who appeared as witnesses turned hostile, and one can appreciate the reason why they did not want to depose against the appellants as that would have exposed them as well and would have adversely affected their future life.”
Deenbandhu Chaudhary, the editor of Navjyoti, said that the local law enforcement officials were aware of the scam over a year before the story went public, but they enabled the local politicians to postpone the investigations.
According to Chaudhary, they ultimately decided to move forward with the story since it appeared to be the only way to motivate the local government to take action. Finally, eight of the defendants became the subject of an FIR filed by the police. Following additional inquiries, a total of 18 persons were charged, and the town experienced heightened unrest for many days.
People took to the streets to protest and tension in the community grew. A three-day bandh was imposed and subsequent news of the widespread exploitation and blackmail started coming in. Retired Rajasthan DGP Omendra Bhardwaj.
All the 19 suspects were charged with kidnapping. Farooq Chishtee, the primary suspect, was the head of the Ajmer Youth Congress. Anwar Chishtee served as the organization’s joint secretary, and Nafis Chishtee served as vice president of the Ajmer Indian National Congress.
The court also imposed sentences on Moijullah (also known as Puttan), Ishrat Ali, Anwar Chishtee, and Shamshuddin (also known as Maradona). Suhail Chishtee, a fugitive, hid for 26 years before coming clean. Salim Chishtee, a fugitive, was apprehended in 2012. Alamas, another key suspect, is still at large.
According to the police and organisations that support women (NGOs), it was challenging to compile evidence against the offenders because the majority of victims were reluctant to come forward. However, the images and videos used to extort the victims were important in identifying the suspects and strengthening the prosecution’s case.
The findings led to the identification of thirty victims. Only a dozen or so of them actually filed cases, and another ten later withdrew. The case was only pursued by two victims. One of the 18 defendants who were charged with kidnapping, gang rape, and indecent representation of women under the Indian Penal Code has now taken his own life. Despite reducing the sentence from life in prison to the time already served by the defendant, the Rajasthan High Court maintained the judgement in 2013.
In 2004, the Supreme Court dismissed both appeals filed by the state, as well as the convicts. A bench comprising Justice N. Santosh Hegde and Justice BP Singh said, “Having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, we are of the view that the ends of justice would be met if the sentence is reduced to ten years of rigorous imprisonment.”
Following the torture during the trial and their pictures in the public domain, several victims committed suicide. According to police investigations, about 6 victims allegedly committed suicide. Ajmer Mahila Samooh, who tried to take up the victim’s cause, withdrew after receiving threats.