Hathras Rape-Murder: Why no 'sperm sample' doesn't mean there wasn't  sexual assault
AFP

Uttar Pradesh police on Thursday claimed that there was no rape during the physical assault on the 19-year-old Hathras woman who succumbed to her injuries at a Delhi hospital on Tuesday.

ADG (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar cited a forensic science laboratory (FSL) report, saying that "samples did not have sperm" which he claimed meant "there was no rape or gang rape."

However, people on social media questioned the claim made by top cop, pointing out that until the police clarifies the timing and other details of medical test, the findings cannot be taken at face value.

The two factors are worth pointing out here: a) - The medical test on the victim was conducted a week after the alleged assault. b) The definition of rape was expanded after Nirbhaya case in Delhi to include oral sex as well as the insertion of an object or any other body part into a woman’s vagina, urethra or anus.

When was medical test conducted?

According to this India Today report, doctors at Aligarh Muslim University's Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital (JNMCH), where the victim was first admitted, conducted a medical examination at 12.30 pm on September 22 while the alleged attack took place at 9:30 am on September 14.

Doctors said she was admitted on September 14 at 4.10 pm and did not give any history of sexual assault at the time of admission and only mentioned this on September 22. The family said she was not in a condition to give any statement and only gained enough strength (to speak) on September 22.

Definition of rape

On the recommendation of Justice Verma Committee after the Nirbhaya rape, Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 was brought to expand the definition of rape among other changes. Section 375 of IPC was amended to say that a man is said to commit "rape" if

(a) penetrates his penis, to any extent, into the vagina, mouth, urethra or anus of a woman or makes her to do so with him or any other person; or

(b) inserts, to any extent, any object or a part of the body, not being the penis, into the vagina, the urethra or anus of a woman or makes her to do so with him or any other person; or

(c) manipulates any part of the body of a woman so as to cause penetration into the vagina, urethra, anus or any part of body of such woman or makes her to do so with him or any other person; or

(d) applies his mouth to the vagina, anus, urethra of a woman or makes her to do so with him or any other person.

This clearly indicates that absence of sperm in the sample does not rule out rape.

Did the woman not mention rape in her statement to police?

ADG Prashant Kumar said the woman in her statement to police did not mention rape.

"Even the woman in her statement to police did not mention about rape but talked about 'marpeet' (beating) only," he said.

This claim is absolutely false as the doctors had earlier said the woman mentioned rape and that is why a medical examination was conducted. Even a video of the woman's statement is viral in which she is heard saying that she was gang-raped.

Social media reaction

While the UP Police needs to share more information regarding the medical examination to establish that there was no rape, people as of now are not buying the theory.

UP Police needs to clarify whether the sample tested for rape was taken on September 14, September 22 or post-mortem.

It also needs to acknowledge that "no sperm" does not mean no rape. But first of all, UP Police needs to state that the victim gave a dying declaration where she claimed rape.

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