Amit Malviya, Swara Bhasker, Digvijaya Singh get NCW notice for revealing Hathras victim’s identity

Under Indian Penal Code provisions, anyone who reveals the identity of a person who is a victim of sexual assault or suspected to be one can be imprisoned for up to two years.

The National Commission for Women has served notices to BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh and actress Swara Bhasker for allegedly revealing the identity of Hathras victim on Twitter and sought an explanation from them. The NCW has also directed them to immediately remove the posts and refrain from sharing such information in the future.

Under Indian Penal Code provisions, anyone who reveals the identity of a person who is a victim of sexual assault or suspected to be one can be imprisoned for up to two years.

The 19-year-old was allegedly raped in UP’s Hathras village by four men on September 14. After her condition deteriorated, she was referred to Delhi’s Safdarjung hospital where she succumbed to her injuries. She was cremated in early hours, with her family alleging the local police forcefully cremated her in the dead of the night.

BJP leader Amit Malviya had tweeted the 48-second video on Friday, writing, “Hathras victim’s interaction with a reporter outside AMU where she claimed there was an attempt to strangulate her neck. None of it is to take away from the atrocity of the crime but unfair to colour it and demean the gravity of one heinous crime against another…” In the video, the woman can be seen lying on the ground, her face clearly visible.

In separate notices to Bhasker, Malviya and Singh, the NCW said it has come across several Twitter posts wherein the picture of the victim of the alleged gang rape incident was used. “In view of the above, you are hereby required to provide a satisfactory explanation to the Commission on receipt of this notice and shall remove and refrain from transmission of such pictures/ videos on the social media as they are widely circulated by your follower which is prohibited by the existing law,” the NCW said in the notice.

Earlier,  NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma told The Indian Express that sharing a rape victim’s identity is “illegal” and that the commission would look into the matter. “If she is a rape victim, then the incident of tweeting the video is really very unfortunate and is also absolutely illegal,” she had told The Sunday Express.

The NCW Chairperson said, “Courts have said over and over again that a rape victim’s identity cannot be revealed in any which way. When we send statements, we are also very careful to never reveal the identity of a rape victim. The UP Police had issued a statement saying that she was not a victim of rape. Nevertheless there seems to be some confusion. I will be speaking with Amit Malviya as well as the UP Police personally on the matter. If it turns out that she was a rape victim, then the NCW will take the issue forward to its logical end.”

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