Odisha gangrape victim's death triggers protests
Bhubaneswar: The death of a gangrape victim after more than six months of treatment at a hospital has triggered widespread protests in Odisha with political and social activists Friday staging demonstrations seeking a CBI probe into the matter.
While hundreds of activists of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party shouted slogans against Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and burnt his effigy here, the Congress accused the government of shielding the officials and politicians involved in criminal activities.
Odisha Gana Samaj which has been fighting to secure justice for the victim and her family since the matter came to light said all the culprits should be charged with murder and given exemplary punishment.
"We are going to observe June 28 as black day. On that day we will stage a protest in front of the Raj Bhawan," Prasanta Patnaik, a senior leader of the Samaj told IANS.
The 19-year-old woman was allegedly gangraped Nov 28 last year by some people near her village Arjunagoda under Pipili police station area, 10 km from here. She died Thursday in a government hospital in Cuttack, 26 km from here, after undergoing treatment for over six months.
The victim who had slipped into comma after the incident died of heart stroke, septicemia, a severe infection and other complications at Sriram Chandra Bhanja Medical College and Hospital.
Babuli Behera, the father of the deceased, alleged that the hospital authorities handed over them the body Thursday but when they were preparing to perform the last rites, police forcibly took it away.
A senior police official, however, refuted the allegation and said the body was brought to Arjungoda village and was kept there for several hours. He said as there was none to claim the body, it was later moved to the temple town of Puri Friday, he added.
"We are expecting them (family members) to claim the body and perform the last rites soon," the official, who did not wish to be named, told IANS. He said the body had been kept in the district government hospital of that town.
The gangrape had created a political storm, prompting Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy to resign Jan 19 on moral grounds after the opposition parties and the woman's family alleged that he was protecting the attackers.
According to the family, the woman was gangraped by a group of men who had earlier assaulted her in 2008 and against whom she had filed a molestation case.
The case is still under investigation by the crime branch and a one-man judicial commission headed by a retired judge of the Orissa High Court.