IAF Officer Charged With Rape Will Face Court Martial In Tamil Nadu

The Coimbatore central all-woman police arrested Harmukh on September 25 after a woman IAF officer lodged a complaint saying she was raped in her room when she was not in a fully conscious state
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The Coimbatore central all-woman police arrested Harmukh on September 25 after a woman IAF officer lodged a complaint saying she was raped in her room when she was not in a fully conscious state

Highlights

  • Indian Air Force flight lieutenant Amitesh Harmukh will be tried by a military court, and ordered the local police to hand over the accused and the case to the IAF.
  • After her report to IAF authorities went unanswered for five days, the 28-year-old officer had no choice but to go to the police.

A Coimbatore mahila court ruled on Thursday that the rape case against Indian Air Force flight lieutenant Amitesh Harmukh will be tried by a military court, and ordered the local police to hand over the accused and the case to the IAF. Harmukh was taken into prison by IAF officers for a court martial as per the order.

Harmukh was detained on September 25 by the Coimbatore central all-women police after a woman IAF officer filed a complaint alleging she was raped in her room while not completely conscious. After her report to IAF authorities went unanswered for five days, the 28-year-old officer had no choice but to go to the police.

The rape victim said in her complaint that she was enrolled in a professional knowledge course at the Air Force Administrative College (AFAC) in Coimbatore and that Amitesh Harmukh was a classmate. She had taken painkillers for an ankle ailment the night of the event and was out with a few pals when the flight lieutenant offered her a drink.
She said that she became queasy after finishing her second drink and was escorted to her room by companions. Amitesh entered her room when she was sleeping and tried to wake her up multiple times despite her requests for him to leave. She realised she had been raped after that.
She first went to higher authorities and filed a complaint, but she was afraid that her identity would be revealed and her family would be informed. She then stated that she did not wish to file a complaint. She was instructed to either file a complaint or certify in writing that everything was consensual and that she had nothing to complain about. Later, she decided to pursue the complaint," she explained.
Doctors performed a two-finger test on her and gathered samples from her vaginal area when she arrived at AFH for a medical evaluation.It was only later that she discovered that the two-finger test was not intended to be used during a rape examination. This activity made her nauseated, and she had to relive the trauma, she added, adding that she had also handed over a bedsheet and a mattress cover stained with semen.
She also filed a written complaint with a wing commander-cadre officer, and her claims were eventually taken into consideration by officials. The rape victim claimed that one of the policemen was unpleasant throughout the conversation, and that Amitesh came to class every day and wandered around the building as if nothing had happened.
She further said that the commandant-cadre officer demanded that she submit her resignation in writing. She tried to withdraw the complaint at this point, expecting that the mental harassment would stop and Amitesh would quit AFAC. However, her sentence was completely rewritten and new terms were introduced. She was sick, and the authorities' approach had exacerbated my trauma, stated the female officer.
On September 25, she approached Coimbatore's central all-woman police, who filed a rape complaint against Amitesh and detained him the same night. On September 26, he was remanded in judicial custody.
The IAF demanded that the special court hand over the flying lieutenant to it for a court martial, even as the city police sought Amitesh Harmukh's police custody for seven days
Thilageswari, an extra mahila court judge (incharge), issued the order handing over the accused flying lieutenant to the Indian Air Force for court martial on Thursday. IAF officials whisked him away to the Air Force Administrative College (AFAC) right away.
His lawyer, N Sundaravadivelu, had previously contended that the Coimbatore municipal police had no authority to investigate the rape case because it was an IAF case for court martial. He said that city police should have handed him over to IAF authorities after his detention, but that Coimbatore police instead sent him to judicial custody.
Meanwhile, the National Commission for Women, citing media reports, urged the IAF head to investigate allegations that a female officer was subjected to a 'two-finger test' by medics following her rape complaint.

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