“Your protection, our pledge”
~ U.P. Police Motto
Gory details of the fateful day
On the 18th of June, 1980 a woman named ‘Maya Tyagi’ along with her husband and two of his friends were travelling from Delhi to Sakal Patti to attend a marriage. The vehicle got a tyre punctured midway and on reaching the nearest market, the driver decided to change the flat tyre. The vehicle stopped at Baghpat crossing, and all the male passengers left to get the tyre replaced. Maya was told to remain seated and so she complied. Soon thereafter, a man started misbehaving with her, and on resisting his vile approaches, her husband rushed back and threw the man down. That person simply got up and left the scene. On seeing all this, the locals informed Maya Tyagi and her husband that the man who just left was the dreaded police officer of the region. Dismayed and fearing the consequences of piquing the policeman’s ego, Maya and everyone accompanying her tried escaping the spot only to be stopped by an incoming police party of around ten policeman. On seeing this, the sense of flight within the people heightened and they further tried fleeing the scene but to no avail, as the police party shot dead all the male members of the group except the driver. They pulled Maya Tyagi out of the car, assaulted her, stripped her naked and started beating her. She tried covering her body with her hands, but on doing so was severely beaten by Lathis and slippers. She was then paraded naked from the spot to the police station wherein she was brutally raped and beaten by three sub-inspectors and three constables one by one.
Brief decision pronounced by the courts
The courts held the police officials involved guilty of all the offences and were awarded life imprisonment.
On a Side Note: Author’s Personal Opinion
I’m really sorry if on reading the above mentioned facts you got disturbed and felt a feeling of absolute disgust, but the worst part of this is that, we still are slaves to the rhythm and due to our short sightedness, we usually forget and are unwilling to accept the reality staring at our own faces, smirking hard at us!
The author believes that the killing of fleeing, unarmed civilians and making a woman stripped off her dignity and take the ultimate (and literal) ‘walk of shame’ by the so called ‘protectors’ of our society are very heinous acts, objectively speaking. The feeling of utter angst is aggravated further when one is reminded of the U.P Police motto: “Your protection, our pledge” making it highly ironical and even more gruesome.
The Maya Tyagi rape incident sparked a huge outrage in the society. Post the Mathura Rape case this was another custodial rape case. This incident also gained political traction to the extent that the victim, Maya Tyagi met the PM of the time, Smt. Indira Gandhi, who tried consoling her. This incident was also discussed in the Parliament for four days. Succumbing to the furore created by public against the police custodial rape instances, the Parliament succumbed and was forced to bring about changes in the Criminal judicial system of the country by enacting the Criminal Amendment Act, 1983.
The Act brought about a huge change in the system by criminalising ‘custodial rape’ and putting a heavier punishment on it than just rape by an individual.
Let a man dream
The society we live in came forward and forced the legislators to change the law and fill a major loophole in it. Our society still has people filled with beating hearts, who tried understanding the pain and suffering of Maya Tyagi and thereby took a stand against it. We as responsible citizens of a democratic nation, staged our protest and could thereby bring about a change in the hope that yes, someday, we will believe in the motto of the police, “सुरक्षा आपकी, संकल्प हमारा”.