IAF officer says was subjected to 'two-finger test' after rape
A 28-year-old woman Indian Air Force (IAF) officer, who accused her colleague of rape this month, has alleged that the force subjected her to an illegal "two-finger test" to confirm the sexual assault. She has also accused the IAF of intimidating and misguiding her, in the police complaint. The alleged sexual assault took place nearly two weeks ago on an IAF campus in Coimbatore.
According to the First Information Report (FIR), the survivor had injured her right leg while playing basketball during training on September 9. Later that day, she joined her colleagues at the officers' mess bar where the accused officer offered to pay for her second drink. The woman officer, however, vomited and went to bed. Her two friends had latched her room from the outside.
While the survivor was asleep, the accused entered her room, tried to wake her and kissed her, the complaint said. She kept pushing him away, although unsuccessfully because of her ankle injury. She confronted the accused the next day, who apologized for having invaded her privacy. A female colleague of the survivor showed her semen stains on the bed, indicating the alleged sexual assault.
The survivor said she was asked, multiple times, to either withdraw her complaint or sign a complaint letter with changes made to it. She, however, refused to do that. She also said that college officials told her that if she could endure the pain of the ankle injury, she could also handle the pain of seeing her rapist on the campus.
At the Air Force Hospital, where the survivor was sent for an examination, the doctors conducted the so-called two-finger test. The procedure, wherein doctors insert two fingers into a woman's vagina to check if the hymen is intact, has been banned by top Indian courts and is also considered unscientific. The woman officer was also allegedly inquired about her "sexual history."
The IAF has declined to comment on the allegations. "The IAF is cooperating with the police investigation and is also conducting an internal inquiry. We cannot comment any further as the matter is sub-judice," a spokesperson said.
Unsatisfied with the action taken by the IAF, the survivor approached the local police. A case of sexual assault under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was registered by the Tamil Nadu Police. The accused officer, a 29-year-old Flight Lieutenant, has since been arrested and is currently in judicial custody. The IAF has argued his custody should be transferred to the force.
However, the police has opposed the IAF's demand. "There is no provision in (the) law to transfer an FIR to the Air Force. Police will complete the investigation and file a report before the court," Coimbatore Commissioner of Police Deepak M Damor told NDTV.