Patna: Two days after a minor Dalit girl, who was allegedly gang-raped in Bihar, died, police have failed to arrest the four named suspects in the case. The girl had tried to end her life but was rescued by her family. She succumbed to her injuries later.
With the first of three phases of the Bihar Assembly Elections only 25 days away, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has instructed top police officials to tackle the incident to ensure that it did not become another Hathras. The state government fears protests by opposition parties and civil society, as has happened in neigbouring Uttar Pradesh. However, the state government has managed to keep the news out of the local media with information about the incident missing in print and TV coverage.
A 14-year-old girl from a village in Konch, a community development block in Gaya district, was abducted by four youths when she was returning from a birthday party at a friend’s house on September 29. They gang-raped her for hours. The victim was found in a semi-conscious state near the village the next morning by family members who brought her home.
According to them, they looked for her late into the night after she failed to return home.
When they asked her why she had not returned, she narrated the incident to them. “She was shaken and deeply pained while sharing the incident with us. She was also crying,” a member of her family said.
Soon, she locked herself inside a room. The family initially thought she would open the door after a while. “When an hour passed and she hadn’t opened the door despite our repeated knocks, we sensed something was wrong, broke the door and found her hanging. Fortunately, she was alive and breathing. We immediately took her to a nearby private doctor who referred us to a hospital in Gaya. After her condition deteriorated, the hospital in Gaya advised us to shift her to a private hospital in Patna, where she died on October 1,” another family member said.
According to the police, an autopsy was conducted at Gaya Medical College and its results are awaited.
Afraid of being chastised in the village, her family did not approach the local police and decided not to lodge a complaint on September 30. Later, when she died and her body was cremated, an FIR was lodged against the four accused – Chandan, Rahul, Tuntun – based on a statement by the victim’s mother.
However, the police are denying that it was a case of rape. Sub-Divisional Police Officer Nagendar Singh told NewsClick that the allegations were untrue and that an investigation is on into the case.
Konch police station’s officer in-charge, Prashant Kumar Singh, refused to talk about the case and said an investigation was ongoing.
However, the assistant sub-inspector of the same police station, Saurav Kumar, told NewsClick that the accused, who are residents of the same village, were absconding after the incident. “The police will arrest them because raids are being conducted,” he said.
Realising the gravity of the situation given the upcoming polls, Gaya Senior Superintendent of Police, Rajiv Mishra, visited the village on Friday, met her family and assured them of action against the accused and justice.
Over the past 48 hours, three rape cases were reported in Bihar. A 12-year-old physically challenged girl was raped by a married man in a village Gaya. Later, the accused was caught by the villagers, who beat him up and handed them over to the police.
On Thursday, a minor girl was gang-raped under Chainpur police station in Kaimur district. The three accused tried to kill her but she managed to survive. Local police have arrested two of the three named accused in the case.
With Bihar CM Nitish Kumar hardly missing an opportunity to overstate the law-and-order situation in the state, the opposition is likely to raise it during campaigning.