New Delhi: Backing Rahul Gandhi's claim of police atrocities on farmers in Greater Noida villages, the NCW on Saturday said complaints of molestation, stripping, rape of women and people being burnt alive have come before it and a CBI probe has been sought.

National Commission for Women acting Chairperson Yasmeen Abrar, who led a fact-finding team that toured affected Bhatta and Parsaul villages, said they will submit a preliminary report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"We have formed an 11-member team headed by me and comprising retired judges and civil society activists which will visit the villages again on Monday and Tuesday, carry out further probe and collect evidence," she said.

The NCW chief, while maintaining that policemen committed ‘atrocities’ on women after the police-farmers clash over a protest on land acquisition issue, said the villagers stopped short of using the word ‘rape’ but indicated towards that.

"Some women alleged that they were raped, but being from a conservative village, they did say it in their own way.

They said give the policemen the punishment meted out to rapists. They said policemen barged into their homes, molested them and torn off their clothes...some of them said they did something more than that. What do you make of that," she said.

"One woman said 12-15 policemen surrounded her and assaulted her, tearing off her clothes," she said.

Abrar said 15-20 women gave depositions with their signs or thumb impressions detailing "atrocities" but maintained that till now these are only charges and a CBI probe should be launched "as soon as possible" to "bring out the truth".

"We ask why no FIR was lodged by Uttar Pradesh against local officials? There should a free and fair probe which only CBI can conduct and culprits punished without delay. I have heard evidence is being destroyed," Abrar said.

She said the women showed them burnt homes and haystacks and alleged that people were burnt and tossed there. "One woman said several men were shot and dumped in the mounds." Asked whether she saw any bones among the burnt mounds, she said "there was something". To a question if the team collected samples of bones from the site, Abrar said, "we will not share all the evidence we got with the media."

When it was pointed out that the UP government said preliminary forensic reports of ashes collected from the area have ruled out presence of human remains, she said, "they did the test in their own labs and we are not satisfied with it."

Asked if she was backing Congress leader Rahul Gandhi who also leveled allegations of rape and torching of people, she said "don't bring any political party into this."

However, she launched a full-scale attack on Chief Minister Mayawati saying she should have visited the area and understood the ‘pains of women there’. The state tops in complaints of rape and gangrapes coming to the women's panel, she said.

She demanded food and security for the villagers. "Most men are yet to come back to the villages and women feel insecure. There should be lady constables," she said. 

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi stressed that the findings were of a "statutory commission" and refused to accept that NCW concurred with Rahul Gandhi's observations. He wondered why the Mayawati government was ‘shying away’ from a judicial inquiry" as being demanded by Congress.

He also said the UP government will have to answer "how a statutory commission like NCW has given such a report." The party believes that more facts would come out if an independent and impartial body probes the matter, Singhvi added.

BSP assails NCW

Reacting sharply to National Commission for Women (NCW)'s backing Rahul Gandhi's claims of police atrocities on farmers in Greater Noida villages, the ruling BSP on Saturday said the Commission is "working like a frontal outfit of Congress."

"The NCW is working like a frontal organisation of Congress," a BSP spokesman said in a statement.

He said that by levelling of "false allegations" of misbehaviour with women in Bhatta Parsaul, the acting Chairperson of the NCW was trying to "show its loyality towards Congress which is already drawing flack for its false statements".

"The Prime Minister should immediately dissolve the present Commission and persons, who can perform their responsibilities, without any political prejudice, should be appointed as members," the spokesman said.

He said the allegations of rape on women in Bhatta Parsaul have already been dismissed as "baseless" by state authorities.

"Levelling such allegations by a top office-bearer of the NCW is not only unfortunate but is also a dent on the dignity of women," he alleged.

The spokesman alleged Congress was indulging in "dirty politics" on the issue of farmers' agitation on land acquisition in Bhatta Parsaul and had used a central commission like NCW to serve its political intentions.

JPN/Agencies