A shocking, unregistered FIR is making round on social media after a newly formed civil society Sikkimey Nagarik Samaj gave a press brief alleging a heinous crime of attempted rape and molestation to non-other than the Political Secretary to the Chief Minister of the state, the no. 2 man of the ruling SKM, Mr Jacob Khaling.
Actually, the press brief officially brought the news which was already being circulated unofficially on WhatsApp and Facebook to the public domain. According the text of the FIR filed by the victim lady, copies of which are widely circulated on social media, the accused Khaling invited her to his bungalow at VIP Colony, constructed and maintained through taxpayer’s money, in the pretext of giving some financial assistance to an NGO run by the victim.
However, when she entered into his office, the accused stared the victim inappropriately, touched her body parts; when the victim tried to escape, he trashed her and forced her to touch his private parts. According to the FIR, the accused even tried to lure her with money of Rs 15 lakh.
In the FIR, the victim has said that she somehow managed to escape from his grip. What made the event particularly unusual is the reluctancy of the police department to register the FIR. The victim tried to file an FIR several times at the Sadar Thana. When her FIR was not entertained, the FIR was sent through speed post to the SP(East).
Even the SP(East) did not entertain the FIR. It may be reminded to all that Sikkim Police is unusually quick when it comes to arrest those not belonging to ruling party. Not very long ago this very Sikkim Police had arrested around 20 students in uniform in the middle of the night from the premises of Education Department.
Why the Sikkim Police did not consider it important to even register the FIR of a crime as serious as attempted rape and molestation filed by the victim herself, let alone arresting the accused and carry out the police enquiry? There have been already several questions raised against the Sikkim Police. Questions were raised from various corners including our organisation whether the Sikkim Police is an executive organ of the Government or merely an extended arm of the ruling party?
The role of Sikkim Police in recent past has lost its credibility and trust from the general public. Amid the ever rising cases of crimes against women in the state, the allegation on one of the most powerful persons in the power corridor of the state is very serious. The way this case will be handled now on will show the general outlook of the power to the women in the state. Now the issue is in the public domain. There is no doubt in the authenticity of the FIR. If one believes in the rumour going on in the market, there has already been a settlement between the accused and the victim.
There is also a rumour making round in social media that the victim has been an important post in the Govt of Sikkim as a part of the settlement. Some photographs related to the settlement have also been circulated on social media. Why the Police did not register the case as per the FIR of the victim against Mr Jacob Khaling the prime accused of the attempted rape and molestation? What stopped the Police from doing their duty? Is there the rule of law in the state? When police take side of the criminals, how can an ordinary citizen trust the police department? Is the rumour of the settlement true? Is the rumour of the victim being given an important post in the Govt of Sikkim true? Now only an independent enquiry to the FIR can bring answers to these questions.
Sikkim Progressive Youth Forum – SPYF demands an independent investigation to this matter. To ensure the independent enquiry Mr Jacob Khaling must be removed from all the important posts that he is holding in the Government of Sikkim.
A few years back, when a Cabinet Minister had faced similar allegations during the #MeToo campaign, he too had tendered his resignation. The accused in this case Mr Jacob Khaling must also be removed from his post to ensure independent enquiry.
There is every possibility of the ruling power misusing its power to put this case under the carpet. We request the civil society members, students, intellectuals, women right activists, social organisations not to keep silence in this apparent lawlessness and misuse of power.