The Coimbatore rape case involving an IAF officer takes a new turn, with Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari on Tuesday denying the charge that the alleged victim was subjected to the banned two-finger test.
The complainant had alleged that she was subjected to the two-finger test at the Air Force Hospital after she accused her colleague, a Flight Lieutenant at the Air Force Administrative College in Coimbatore, of rape.
An air force officer was arrested by an all-women team of Tamil Nadu Police on September 26, after the complainant woman lodged a case. The alleged accused, who hails from Chhattisgarh’s Durg district, is said to have committed the crime when he was at the training academy to take part in an induction programme.
The woman also said the attitude of some officers, who were made aware of the sexual assault, was to force her into withdrawing the complaint.
In her complaint, reproduced in the FIR registered by Coimbatore police, the woman says she was raped at her quarters by the flight lieutenant on September 9. According to the FIR, reviewed by CNN-News18, the woman had been at the receiving end of gaslighting by a few officers to whose notice the incident had been brought. The FIR stated,
I was feeling sick, my trauma intensified by the authorities’ attitude and knowing the fact that my rapist was going to walk free. I had a panic attack around 02 30 hrs and had to be taken to the AFH. I was administered pills as I could not sleep and was having great trouble breathing. I was given a day’s rest.
In the FIR, the woman has also alleged that senior officers, including those in charge of administering medical treatment to her, had pressurised her to withdraw her complaint, and made changes to the letters that she had submitted, detailing her trauma.
She further alleged that the institute’s authorities attempted to “tamper with the evidence” she provided against the perpetrator and their “callous attitude” forced her to lodge a complaint with the civil police.
Last week, the case was handed over to the IAF for court martial, following a local court direction. The Additional Mahila Court in Chennai directed the police to hand over the sensitive case involving the Flight Lieutenant at the Air Force Administrative College to the IAF, after it had filed a petition seeking his transfer citing jurisdiction.
The survivor in the case had asked for a police investigation, alleging pressure and intimidation from her superiors.
Two Finger Test
The 28-year old female Air Force officer had levelled serious charges against the IAF authorities, including subjecting her to a banned finger test and also forcing her to withdraw the complaint against the accused Flight Lieutenant.
In her FIR, the survivor had alleged that when she reported the alleged sexual assault to the authorities at the Air Force College in Coimbatore, she was subjected to the two-finger test at the medical examination. She was also allegedly asked about her sexual history.
The two-finger test was banned after the Criminal Amendment Act of 2013. The test is an unscientific and outdated method to ascertain sexual assault based on the laxity of the vaginal muscles, to figure out if the woman is sexually active. However, a person’s sexual history has nothing to do with their sexual assault.
IAF Response – Other Side of the Story
Responding to a question during a press conference ahead of Air Force Day on October 8, Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari , who took over as IAF chief on September 30, said,
The two-finger test, that you mentioned, it is misreported.
The actual fact is that it has not been done. And I can confirm to you that this test was not done. We are well aware of the rules. All actions, all disciplinary actions that will come out from this inquiry, will be taken.
- A serious allegation by the complainant has been refuted by the Air Force
- Does this mean the complainant fabricated the charge?
- Crux of the matter is no one should pass verdicts either in favour of woman or the man, until investigation is complete and court has given it final verdict
Meanwhile, this is how social media had already reacted prior to the investigation being complete.
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