Banda rape: Dalit girl released from jail

After being in prison for a little over a month, a minor backward community girl allegedly raped by a BSP MLA and later sent to jail on fake theft charges was today released on the orders of Uttar Pradesh CM Mayawati.

Banda/Lucknow: After being in prison for a
little over a month, a minor backward community girl allegedly
raped by a BSP MLA and later sent to jail on fake theft
charges was today released on the orders of Uttar Pradesh
Chief Minister Mayawati.

As Mayawati celebrated her 55th birthday, the BSP
supremo who faced severe embarrassment over the incident
ordered the 17-year-old girl`s release on the basis of a probe
by CBI-CID which found the allegations levelled against her to
be untrue.
Mayawati said action will be taken against policemen
involved in harassing the minor who was charged with theft
apparently as part of a "conspiracy" after she was allegedly
raped by 48-year-old Purshottam Naresh Dwiwedi.

The girl walked free from the Banda District Jail,
about 220 km from Lucknow, after an order for her release,
issued by the District Judge, was handed over to prison
authorities, officials said. The release order was issued two
days ahead of the hearing on bail application of the girl in a
Banda court.

The girl was arrested on December 12 on charges of
committing theft at the MLA`s residence.

She later alleged she was raped twice by the MLA on
December 10 and 11 and stuck to her allegations in a statement
made before a local court on January 10 after which it ordered
police to take immediate legal action.

"The CM has ordered the release of the girl currently
lodged in Banda Jail on the basis of a report submitted by the
CB-CID," an official spokesman said in Lucknow. He said there
was a provision under which the Chief Minister can order
release of an undertrial if it has been settled that the case
was "fake".

Detailed probe will continue, the spokesman said.
The Allahabad High Court during the course of the day
ordered that the girl be "released forthwith from jail
unconditionally" and she shall be "entrusted to the care of
her parents" and "adequate security" be provided to all of

The order was passed by a specially-constituted Division
Bench comprising Justice Imtiyaz Murtaza and Justice S C
Agarwal, which took suo motu cognizance of a newspaper report
wherein it was stated that the teenaged girl might have to
spend "a few more days" in jail despite having been given a
clean chit by the CB-CID.

Earlier, addressing a gathering at a function in Lucknow
on her birthday, Mayawati said the charges of theft against
the girl "appeared to be part of a conspiracy of the MLA to
hide his misdeed".

"A Crime Branch-CID probe in the matter is on and after
its report, the state government will take stern action
against the policemen and others involved in harassing the
girl," the BSP leader said.

With a view to provide justice to the girl, Mayawati
said that the state government would ensure hearing of case in
a fast-track court.

"No one will be allowed to take law into his hands under
BSP government. Strict action will be initiated against all
those, whosoever they are, who take law into their hands,"
Mayawati said in a stern message to partymen to remain

The girl was arrested following a complaint filed by
Dwivedi`s brother at Attara police station in December soon
after she was allegedly raped by the ruling party legislator.

Earlier, on January 12, cabinet secretary Shashank
Shekhar Singh had claimed that the theft charge against the
girl was genuine.

"Sheelu, before fleeing from the MLA`s house on December
12, took a mobile phone of his daughter-in-law and Rs 5,000 in
cash. She even made 150 calls from the mobile phone," he had
told reporters. "The theft case was correct and arrest
justified," he had said.

The continued incarceration of the girl had caused
outrage among social activists while political parties also
slammed it.

Dwivedi, who represents Naraini seat in UP Assembly,
was arrested Thursday in connection with the alleged
criminal assault on the girl. The MLA was later sent to 14
days ofjudicial remand by a Chief Judicial Magistrate.

The girl was allegedly raped on December 10-11 last year
at the legislator`s residence. She escaped from the house on
December 12 when the MLA allegedly attempted to rape her for a
third time and was arrested on the same day on theft charges.

While the MLA`s two aides -- Rajendra Shukla and
Surendra Neta -- have been arrested, the third accused Ravan
Garg is still absconding.


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