A two-member team of the National Commission for Women (NCW) began a probe on Sunday into the alleged rape of four Dalit women by upper caste men almost a month ago in a Bihar village.
On August 6, the four women from Ramnagar-Gopalpur village in Lakhisarai district were reportedly raped at gunpoint as punishment for not voting for a particular candidate in the panchayat elections.
"A two-member team of NCW began a probe into the rape of four Dalit women by visiting the village and interacting with villagers to ascertain the truth behind the incident," said a district official.
The rape victims filed a complaint with the NCW in New Delhi last month after which a probe team was set up.
According to sources, Dalits in the village have been living under fear as the accused reportedly threatened to kill families who had highlighted the issue and demanded police investigation. Though a police team was deployed in the village, it failed to instil confidence among Dalits.
The police filed a case and arrested the accused only after the victims met Chief Minister Nitish Kumar earlier this week. But they were all released on bail because they were arrested on charges of theft and assault, not rape.
The women also met Railway Minister Lalu Prasad and Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan. Lalu's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has demanded an independent probe into the incident while Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party demanded a CBI probe.