Kendrapara: Police are investigating to ascertain the age of the two accused in the rape and murder of a Dalit girl following a complaint to the Kendrapara Juvenile Justice Board on Tuesday on a claim that both are minors.
"As per school records both are minors and despite grave nature of offence allegedly committed by them, law does not permit police to send them to jail," human rights activist BK Pati said.
Pati said he had lodged a complaint with the chairman of the district juvenile justice board this morning.
"Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) will take up the matter as juveniles deserve a chance to reform instead of punitive action," said district JBB member Bipin Bihari Barik.
Section 16 of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act provides that a juvenile can only be kept at the special home till he attains 18 years, he said.
The 15-year-old school girl was allegedly raped and set ablaze by two youths in seaside village Kharinashi on July 28. The girl succumbed to her burn injuries on August 08.
Kendrapara Superintendent of Police Sarthak Sadangi said the matter was being investigated. Police was also verifying school records to ascertain the age of the accused.
Till date, nobody stated before police about the minor status of the accused. "We initially booked both under Sections - 307 (attempt to murder), 376 (rape), 34 (common intention) of the IPC and a section of the SC and ST (Atrocity Prevention) Act," he said.
Both the accused are currently in jail.