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Sunday, Oct 20, 2019

Hunt on for four suspected of raping ex-Bihar home inmate

The alleged crime came to light on Sunday after the woman approached the police. The woman lives with her mother at a rented accommodation in Bettiah. The woman’s father is a fruit vendor in Nepal.

india Updated: Sep 17, 2019 09:15 IST
Sandeep Bhaskar
Sandeep Bhaskar
Hindustan Times, Bettiah/ Patna
Officials have identified four people suspected of abducting and gang-raping a former inmate of a shelter home in Muzaffarpur
Officials have identified four people suspected of abducting and gang-raping a former inmate of a shelter home in Muzaffarpur(Representative Image)
         

Officials have identified four people suspected of abducting and gang-raping a former inmate of a shelter home in Muzaffarpur, the police said on Monday.

The suspects, who allegedly sexually assaulted the 18-year-old woman in a moving car on Friday in Bettiah in West Champaran, are on the run, Jitendra Kumar, additional director general (headquarters) of the Bihar Police, told mediapersons.

The alleged crime came to light on Sunday after the woman approached the police. The woman lives with her mother at a rented accommodation in Bettiah. The woman’s father is a fruit vendor in Nepal.

The Muzaffarpur case hit the headlines in 2018 after a social audit report by Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) highlighted that over 30 girls were allegedly raped at the government-aided shelter home, run by an NGO.

“Last year, she (the woman) fled home after we denied her permission to marry a man of her choice and somehow landed at the Muzaffarpur shelter home. She was barely there for three-four days before being she was shifted to a shelter home in Mokama. We somehow got to know about her whereabouts and brought her back home. Later, we got her married with the same person she loved,” said the father who is visiting Bettiah.

He denied any kind of sexual exploitation of his daughter at the two shelter homes where she spent a few days before reuniting with her family. The family said the woman was shifted to Mokama a few days after the Muzaffarpur scandal surfaced, and then reunited with the family later in 2018.

Bettiah superintendent of police Jayant Kant said the woman’s medical report did not suggest internal and external injuries, but he did not rule out rape.

“We are also seeking opinion of FSL [forensic science lab] experts in this connection. In the course of investigation, we also came to know that the girl was not forcefully dragged into the vehicle. She could well be persuaded. However, the investigation into the matter is on.”

On the number of number of the occupants in the vehicle, Kant said it appeared there were five people. “We will speak to the girl once again. So far she has been cooperating with us quite well,” Kant said.

In the first information report (FIR) in the case with a police station at Bettiah, four persons, all in their early 20s and residents of Bettiah, were accused of raping her. The FIR said these four persons forcefully dragged the woman into a four-wheeler when she was on her way to a relative’s place from Indira Chowk in the town on Friday. Identity of the fifth person on the driver’s seat is yet to be ascertained.

The Opposition targeted the Bihar government over the incident. “The criminals protected and promoted by the ‘demon government’ of Bihar have crossed all limits of inhumanity...The government is a failure,” tweeted former chief minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Rabri Devi.

“It’s a heinous crime. We condemn this type of incidents. The government is committed to stopping such crimes. An FIR has been lodged...and very soon, the accused will ne hed,” Rajiv Ranjan, the state spokesperson of Bihar’s ruling Janata Dal (United).

The National Commission for Women (NCW) has constituted a committee to investigate the case. A tweet from the NCW handle said that its chairperson, Rekha Sharma, will speak to Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, director general of police and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) over the incident.

First Published: Sep 16, 2019 23:54 IST

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