05/07/2016 9:53 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST

Haryana High Court Says 'No Doubt' About Murthal Rapes

Indian members of a social organisation Our City Our Right holds a candle during a silent protest following the recent gang rape and murder of a 20-year-old college student in Barasat, in Kolkata on June 15, 2013. Activists and social groups in various parts of the state held rallies and protests following the incident. AFP PHOTO/ Dibyangshu SARKAR (Photo credit should read DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW DELHI -- Four months after The Tribune first reported that several women were raped in the fields near the National Highway in Murthal, Haryana, the Punjab and Haryana High court said that there is "no doubt" that this horrific crime did take place when the state was besieged by Jat violence.

Senior advocate Tushar Mehta, who appeared on behalf of the state government on Monday, accepted that such a horrific crime was perpetrated, but he added that authorities still needed time to probe the matter, The Times of India reported today.

The Haryana police had denied that rapes had occurred even though media organizations had found women's undergarments in the fields, and even tracked down rape survivors to get their account.

In the face of these developments, the Punjab and Haryana High Court took suo moto cognizance of the media reports.

READ: Women Passengers Were Dragged Out Of Vehicles And Raped Near Murthal In Haryana - Report

Following the furore over the sexual violence, the Haryana police changed its stance from outright denial to saying that they could not confirm the incident. Under pressure, the Haryana government set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate allegations that several women were raped and molested on the morning of Feb. 22nd.

In February, The Tribune reported that women passengers were dragged out of their vehicles and raped in the fields near Murthal, and state officials had told their families to keep mum for "the sake of their honour" rather than helping them seek justice.

READ: Murthal Mystery: Women Recount Horrifying Ordeal, But Govt. Denies Gang Rape

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