video footage showing 14 youths molesting two girls in broad daylight in a village under Tanda police station in Rampur

RAMPUR: In a shocking incident, a video footage showing 14 youths molesting two girls in broad daylight in a village under Tanda police station in Rampur has gone viral on the social media, triggering an outrage in the state where the incidents of crime have seen a spurt recently. In the video, the girls are seen objecting to the assault and trying to defend themselves while they are surrounded and groped by the assailants, who also filmed the act on their cellphone cameras and later put it on Facebook.

Police have arrested the main accused after registering a case against 14 youths who have been identified. “An FIR has been lodged against 14 persons. Main accused Shahnawaz has been arrested and the probe is on,” principal secretary (home) Arvind Kumar said in Lucknow. Rampur senior superintendent of police Vipin Tanda told TOI that the other accused will be arrested soon.

In the video, the group of youths can be seen waylaying two girls in a desolate village area. They are seen molesting and groping one of the girls. One accused even lifts her. While the girls are seen pleading with them to let them go, the youths are seen laughing and a few of them shooting the incident. “Tumahre ghar main behen nahi hai kya (Don’t you have sisters)?” the girl is heard telling the accused who keep molesting her.

According to the police, no one from the victims’ families approached them and they registered an FIR on their own. “The video was uploaded and went viral on Sunday, following which we registered the case,” said Rampal Singh, SHO, Tanda kotwali. An FIR has been registered under IPC’s sections 354A (sexual harassment), 354B (assault or use of force to woman with intent to disrobe) and relevant sections of the Information Technology Act against the 14 men.

The principal secretary (home) said accused Shahnawaj, Nawved, Farmaan, Jahane Aalam and Saddam are of Kuwakhera village of Rampur district. “Attempts are on to nab the other accused,” he said.

Rampur SSP Vipin Tanda, who inspected the crime scene, said crime branch and surveillance teams have been conducting raids in many villages to arrest the other accused.
Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi, while talking to reporters in Delhi, questioned if this was the effective law and order promised by BJP before coming to power two months ago. He said the incidents of crime have witnessed a spurt in UP since the Yogi Aditya Nath government took over and in this context, mentioned the Saharanpur caste violence too.

Notably, after coming to power in March this year, the Yogi government had launched ‘anti-Romeo’ squads to curb harassment of women. However, the initiative had drawn much flak after a spate of cases of moral policing and police excesses was reported from across the state. To save face, the state government then renamed the squads as ‘Nari Suraksha Bal’ (women’s protection force) and issued them guidelines.

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