A 32-year-old woman from New Delhi’s Devli region has alleged that her sexual harassment complaint was not registered and she was forced to withdraw her complaint by Neb Sarai Station House Office Naresh Solanki. Previously, Solanki had faced enormous criticism for forcing the complainant in the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi sexual harassment case to apologise to his wife.
The woman has alleged sexual harassment by Ashok Gupta, a practising doctor and owner of the Medi Polyclinic in New Delhi’s Devli region. Reportedly, Gupta has harassed several patients at the pretext of examinations. The complainant shared details of Gupta barging in her room as she was feeding her three month old daughter and alleged that Gupta then proceeded to forcefully touch her inappropriately.
Initially, the woman had attempted to file a case on September 30 on the day of the incident. Describing her ordeal, she said, “Initially, my husband had gone to the police station to register an FIR. After refusing to lodge the complaint, the police later came to our doorstep stating that they want to take our statement. We were taken to the Neb Sarai police station and no statement was recorded, instead I was told to withdraw the case. Along with my three-month-old child, my husband and I were kept in the police station until 10 in the night on the same day. We were released only when we withdrew our complaint.”
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She added, “The entire process was very intrusive, our phones were also taken away. Initially, when the police walked in our homes, they started filming and asking me uncomfortable questions.” The husband of the complainant, who is also working at the same hospital, added, “We are under immense pressure to withdraw the case. We have been forced to lock our home from outside and and stay inside because we are being threatened by different people to not take up the case legally.” The couple has finally managed to take up the case legally, hearing for which is scheduled for November 21 at the Saket District Court.
The complainants have also added that the husband of the victim is being embroiled in false cases regarding his academic qualifications so as to build pressure on the family to not pursue the case.
Previously, Solanki was posted at West Delhi’s Tilak Marg police station, when a case was reported against the present Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. The complainant in the case released a sworn affidavit and sent copies of it to 22 Supreme Court judges. The woman, a former employee of the Supreme Court, had accused the CJI of sexual harassment and persecution. Along with her affidavit, the former employee also sent the judges copies of video recordings of several incidents she refers to in the document—in particular, that a station house officer named Naresh Solanki accompanied her to the CJI’s residence in January this year, where she was asked to apologise to his wife. After the visit to the CJI’s residence, she writes, Solanki summoned her and her husband to the police station and made repeated attempts to convince her to withdraw the complaint.
In India, reporting sexual assault remains a long, problematic process with the intrinsic stigma that survivors of harassment face from their families and often the police. Additionally, the fact that only about 1 in 4 rape cases results in a conviction, further weakens the faith of the survivors in legal processes.