Wife harassed for reporting French diplomat for child abuse
While the police has filed a chargesheet against Pascal Mazurier, wife Suja is being victimised, reports Imran Khan
The high profile case of a French consulate official allegedly raping his four-year-old child not only caught the headlines in Bengaluru but also sent shockwaves across the French expatriate community in India. The fact that the complainant was the child’s mother resulted in an outpouring of support for the victim and anger against Pascal Mazurier, the consulate official. However, as the case is heading towards a legal conclusion, the indifference of the police and the French consulate and their sympathy with her husband has made the battle to get justice much tougher for Suja Jones, the mother.
On 19 June, Pascal Mazurier, 39, Deputy Head of Chancery at the French consulate in Bangalore for the last four years, was arrested by Karnataka police on charges of sexually abusing his four-year-old daughter. The complainant, his Keralite wife for the last eight years Suja Jones Mazurier, 37, who had for long doubted her husband’s intentions towards their daughter, had instructed her maid to keep a watch on Pascal when he came home for lunch.
The maid, who found Mazurier locked up with the girl for four hours, immediately informed Suja, who later took her daughter to Baptist hospital for medical examination. Suja Mazurirer’s doubts were confirmed when doctors at the hospital informed her that an attempt to rape was made on her daughter. A distraught Suja, based on the medico-legal report and help from the local NGO Enfold India, filed a complaint against Pascal on 14 June at the Cubbon Park police station alleging rape of her daughter. Apart from a daughter, Pascal and his wife have two sons aged seven and two.
Even though a complaint of attempt to rape was filed, it took police five days to arrest Mazurier, who contrary to their belief, did not enjoy diplomatic immunity. “The consul general of France Dominique Causse himself had pleaded with the Commissioner of Police, Bangalore not to arrest Mazurier,’’ informs Suja Mazurier. Buckling under pressure, the Bangalore police later charged her husband under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code.
Even before the dust could settle, she came under intense attack from the expatriate community and from the French consulate. There were email campaigns against her questioning her intention. Since both Pascal and Suja hold a joint bank account, it was alleged that she did it to gain complete access of his money. "After much effort, I have finally been able to access some funds present in our bank account in France. As a result, I believe I can at least provide for my family for now. I would like to extend my gratitude to a French-speaking well-wisher who had to call on my behalf because the professionals involved repeatedly ignored my calls and emails over the weeks. Even then, it required a lot of convincing and further letters to finally get through. I was not aided in any way by any consulate officials to do this. Parallel pleas, numerous and fervent, to the consulate for help ultimately were rewarded with an offer for assistance from the consul general, which was not only encouraging but no longer necessary as my own independent efforts with the bank had yielded results." adds Suja Mazurier.
During the investigation, aggrieved Suja had to even write a letter to the city police commissioner asking for change of investigation officer who subjected her to intense questioning. “Were you sexually abused as a child? Do you hate France? Do you hate your mother-in-law? Did your parents know about your pre-marital relationship? If you lied to your parents about that, what proof that you are not lying now?” These were some of the questions thrown at her by the previous investigating officer.
The police also did a physical examination of Suja's daughter in the labour room of the government-run Bowring hospital. “There was blood everywhere on the floor. My daughter was screaming and I was crying,” recounts Suja. The swab samples of her daughter were later sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory in Hyderabad, which gave a report saying that they didn’t find Pascal’s DNA in it. However, the doctors didn’t even find the girl’s DNA in it, leading to a suspicion that the sample was tampered.
The police is now demanding that blood samples of the girl child should be given to clear this doubt. Investigating officer in the case Assistant Commissioner of Police Venkataswamy speaking to TEHELKA said, “This is the first time we are taking the blood sample. We want to send blood samples to other laboratory as the DNA report is inconclusive. Further clarification is required but we cannot compel her to give it’’.
“We have no issues of giving the blood samples but they should state it for what reason they are taking it,’’ says Suja Mazurier.
Meanwhile, the Bangalore police have filed a 160 page chargesheet on 17 September accusing Pascal of rape based on circumstantial evidence. The police however have refused to give them a copy of the chargesheet asking them to approach the court. Suja’s counsel advocate Pramila Nesargi said, “The defense lawyer has already been given a copy of it. But it is being denied to us.’’ Pascal’s lawyers have moved the High Court demanding bail. The next hearing is scheduled on Monday 24 September.
Imran Khan is a Senior Correspondent with Tehelka.