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Odisha woman out to get rice under govt scheme raped by sarpanch’s husband

Police said the woman had gone to the gram panchayat office of Jhirpani in Bisra block on July 3 to inquire about the distribution of rice. Xaxo, who is an employee of a state-run steel plant, asked her to come on July 4.

india Updated: Jul 12, 2019 16:20 IST
Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar
Odisha,raped,sarpanch’s husband
Rape cases have been soaring in Odisha in the last three years.(AP File)

A 20-year-old tribal woman in Odisha’s Sundargarh has accused the husband of a village head and his associate of raping her earlier this month when she went to collect her quota of rice under the state’s food security scheme, police have said.

Ajay Xaxo, the husband of Jhirpani sarpanch Prabha Xaxo, is on the run and Sundargarh Police said they are looking for him.

Police said the woman had gone to the gram panchayat office of Jhirpani in Bisra block on July 3 to inquire about the distribution of rice. Xaxo, who is an employee of a state-run steel plant, asked her to come on July 4.

When the woman reached the panchayat office the on the day she was called, the accused and his accomplice called her to the rooftop of the rice godown and raped her, Jhirpani inspector-in-charge Raisen Murmu said quoting the woman’s complaint.

Police said the accused men threatened to kill her if she disclosed the matter to anyone. Though the woman told her father that she had been raped, he asked her not to talk about it fearing social stigma. Her uncle, however, advised her to lodge a complaint with the police.

Police inspector Murmu said the woman’s statement has been recorded.

In January this year, the husband of a woman zilla parishad member, a BJD leader, was arrested in Jajpur district over the sexual assault of a woman. In April last year, a sarpanch in the same district was arrested over the sexual assault of a woman in her house.

Rape cases have been soaring in the state in the last three years. The home department statistics show 2,144 rapes were registered in 2016, which went up to 2,221 in 2017 and 2,502 last year. Between January and March this year, the police have registered 552 rape cases.

First Published: Jul 12, 2019 16:20 IST

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