Angry residents of Patan city in north Gujarat on Tuesday observed a shutdown and took out a rally to demand action against six teachers of a government-run teachers training college for allegedly raping a Dalit trainee.
People of Patan, 130 km from Ahmedabad, were enraged after a first-year student of the Primary Teachers Training College alleged Monday that the six lecturers had gang-raped her 14 times in the past six months.
The main street of the city was crowded as people took out a rally and handed over a memorandum to Patan District Collector Vinod Rao.
After the rally, traders and shopkeepers downed shutters and observed a closure, called by the parents of the institute's students.
"The shutdown passed off peacefully and there were no untoward incidents," District Superintendent of Police Rajendra Vats told IANS.
He said normal life was not disrupted due to the shutdown. "Even though the closure was over in the afternoon, traders chose not to open the shutters."
The movement of the state transport buses passing through the city was not affected, the official added.
Jasumatiben Kansara, a member of the state's women commission, arrived here to inquire into the charge.
"We are awaiting a report from her," said a commission official.
The girl named Manish Parmar, Suresh Patel, Ashwin Parmar, Kiran Patel, Atul Patel and Nahendra Patel as perpetrators of the crime.
Following the student's accusation, about 100 girls residing in the hostel of the college, along with their parents, caught hold some of the accused and beat them up Monday.
Many people joined them in beating the accused that were later handed over to police.
The district collector said the six teachers accused of rape have already been suspended.
He added that the district administration would take the "strictest of action that is possible against the culprits because as teachers they were expected to be role models for students".
Revenue Minister Anandiben Patel, who is the legislator from Patan, and Minister for Higher Education Maya Kodnani arrived here earlier to look into the matter.
However, they were greeted by angry slogans from the students' parents as the ministers chose to discuss the issue with education department officials instead of them.
The state has seen a spurt in crime against women in the last fortnight. A five-year-old girl was beaten up and allegedly raped in Danilimda area of Ahmedabad by a youth. The victim was admitted to the Civil Hospital.
His neighbours in Surat burned a man alive allegedly on January 14 because he stopped them from teasing a widow. Another incident was reported from Savarkundala block of Amereli district in Saurashtra region where a 22-year-old woman committed suicide because her husband's kin repeatedly raped her.