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Clashes erupt in Arunachal amid public outrage against rape of minors

Upper Siang community leaders declared a district-wide shutdown on Wednesday, demanding that a rape accused be shifted back to the Yingkiong police station. Miscreants pelted the police with stones, damaging property and forcing them to retaliate with tear gas shells.

india Updated: Feb 21, 2018 19:20 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
Arunachal Pradesh,Minors,Rape
Students protest against the rising instances of rape at Delhi University recently. (Sushil Kumar/HT File)

A wave of public outrage against the sexual assault of minor girls has gripped Arunachal Pradesh in the aftermath of the public lynching of an alleged rapist and his accomplice earlier this week.

On Monday, a mob of nearly 1,000 people dragged two people accused of raping and murdering a five-year-old girl out of a police station at Tezu in Lohit district and lynched them in the marketplace. A day later, another mob of nearly 900 people ransacked a police station at Yingkiong – the headquarters of Upper Siang district – after learning that another rape accused had been shifted out as a precautionary measure. The man, a teacher charged with raping a minor, was arrested on February 19.

“We shifted the accused after the Tezu incident because we feared for his safety. But the people thought we had set him free, and ransacked the police station on Tuesday,” said deputy inspector general (central range) John Neihlaia.

Community leaders declared a district-wide shutdown on Wednesday, demanding that the teacher be shifted back to Yingkiong. Miscreants pelted the police with stones, damaging property and forcing them to retaliate with tear gas shells.

“We can’t give in to the demands of the public as they may resort to vigilante action. The situation at Yingkiong is tense but under control. We have sent for reinforcements,” said Neihlaia.

In another incident, a group of people stripped the alleged rapist of an eight-year-old girl and paraded him naked on the streets of Daporijo in Upper Subansiri district before handing him over to the police on Tuesday.

The accused, a state government employee, had allegedly raped the girl on February 14. The victim informed her parents about the incident on February 19, following which her relatives apprehended the man. A video of the accused, naked and bearing injury marks on his face, was uploaded on social media platforms.

“Nearly 30 people – including relatives of the victim – brought the accused to the police station. We arrested him and conducted a medical examination of the girl. Preventive measures have been taken to quell the public outrage,” said deputy superintendent of police (Upper Subansiri) Minjom Ete.

First Published: Feb 21, 2018 19:20 IST