The Odisha government had appointed the judicial commission after the girl committed suicide in January 2018.(AFP/Getty Images)
The Odisha government had appointed the judicial commission after the girl committed suicide in January 2018.(AFP/Getty Images)

‘Not true’, says judicial probe into gang rape of Dalit girl in Odisha

A ninth standard who had complained in October 2017 that she was gang-raped by four paramilitary troopers in Odisha’s Koraput, committed suicide in January 2018. While a CID probe is still continuing, a judicial panel which also probed the case said the incident did not happen.
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar | By Debabrata Mohanty
PUBLISHED ON AUG 04, 2019 09:24 AM IST

A day after the Orissa High Court asked the state CID to complete investigation into the case of alleged gang rape of a Dalit minor girl by central paramilitary jawans within a month, a judicial inquiry commission on Saturday said the incident was untrue.

Hearing into two writ petitions seeking CBI probe into the case, the division bench of Orissa High Court headed by chief justice KS Jhaveri on Friday had asked the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the State government to wrap up its probe in next one month. The HC said if CID failed to complete the probe, then it would be forced to order a probe by a special investigation team comprising police officials from central agency and from state agency.

A minor Dalit girl in Koraput district was allegedly gang-raped by troopers of the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) in October 2017 in a forest, following which she committed suicide in January 2018. The girl who was a ninth standard student in a local school, had alleged in her complaint that she had gone to the market in Kunduli area of Koraput to get her biometrics recorded for her Aadhaar card and was returning to her village when four jawans intercepted her sexually assaulted her in a jungle nearby.

A special unit of the central reserve police force (CRPF), CoBRA specializes in anti-Maoist operations.

The government had handed over the case to CID which detained some relatives of the girl and conducted polygraph tests on them. The girl was first treated at the district headquarter hospital in Koraput and later shifted to SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack after her conditions worsened. The girl allegedly hanged herself in her house on January 22, 2018 after police said all medical tests conducted by doctors at different hospitals disproved the rape allegations. The girl’s mother later alleged that the district administration hatched a conspiracy to kill her daughter in order to save the paramilitary forces.

The government had also ordered a judicial probe into the incident by the Koraput district and sessions judge into the incident. The probe found that there was no medical evidence of sexual intercourse. The judicial probe report and the Action Taken Report which was tabled in the State Assembly said no such incident happened. The commission of inquiry wondered why a minor girl at the cost of her modesty made false accusations and gave out a false story about the purported sexual assault on her.

The probe report said that “making of false implication by the girl cannot be ruled out because of personal transgression and avoidance of further embarrassment best known to her”.

The commission of inquiry which recommended a probe into the circumstance that led the girl to commit suicide and that the progress of probe should not be disclosed to media before its completion. It also said that identity of victim should be kept hidden and a statue of the girl in the village should be removed.

The commission questioned the role of victim’s family, saying that they were not satisfied with the investigation due to reasons best known to them and instead of being cooperative, they leveled frivolous allegations.

Without naming any political party, the commission said the protest and agitations over the incident were sponsored by political parties out of their own funds. Their leaders gave some irresponsible statements to the media tarnishing the image of the investigating agencies and other government agencies in the eyes of the public.

On the day of the incident, the leaders of a political party led a mob and a rasta roko was organised for three days. A feast after the cremation of the deceased victim was sponsored by a particular party. In order to derive undue political gain out of such incident, local political leaders and elected representatives took the family of the victim into confidence and provided constant support by helping them financially and otherwise, the commission said in its report.

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