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Odisha gang-rape case: Protests intensify across state after victim commits suicide

The minor victim was allegedly raped by four men in uniform in October last year 

Odisha gang-rape case: Protests intensify across state after victim commits suicide
Koraput: Body of the minor girl, who was allegedly gang raped by security men on last year, hanged herself at her house in Sorisapadar village in Koraput district. (IANS photo)

Bhubaneswar: A day after an alleged minor gang-rape victim committed suicide in Odisha, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) called for a statewide bandh on Wednesday. Several activists pelted stones at the cops and clashed with members of Opposition, demanding a CBI probe into the incident.

The police later resorted to lathi-charge to disperse the protesters. Few BJP and Congress members have also been detained, said the police.

On October 10, 2017, the minor girl was allegedly raped by four men in uniform while she was returning home at Musaguda village, about five-kilometers away, in the Naxal-hit Koraput district.

Several BJP activists, along with members of the party's women wing, tried to march towards 'Naveen Niwas', the residence of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. 

Several BJP activists were injured in the lathi-charge.

While BJP called a dawn-to-dusk bandh in the undivided Koraput district, the Congress called for a state-wide 12- hour bandh on Wednesday.

"The girl had earlier claimed that there was a threat to her life. She was forced to take the drastic step of ending her life as she was denied justice," said Congress Chief Whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati.

There was tension in Koraput as locals led by Congress leader Pradip Majhi took away the girl's body from the hospital without allowing officials to perform a post-mortem, officials said.

The agitators blocked National Highway-26 in Kunduli in Koraput by placing the girl's body on it and staged a demonstration, demanding action against those involved in the alleged gangrape and police officials who failed to provide justice to the girl, they said.

The victim, a student of Class 9, committed suicide by hanging herself inside her house. 

"She had slipped into depression and was disturbed after police probe dismissed her rape charges. She lost hope about getting justice," said her family.

"The 14-year-old girl had even stopped going to school. This might have driven her to take the extreme step...We tried to make her forget what had happened but something else was going on in her mind. Now we have lost her," said Ranjita Chati, victim's aunt.

After her medical examination, the victim was allegedly kept at a government-run residential high school at Kotpad, over 100 km from her village. She also refused to go back to her village, fearing social ostracization. 

Naveen Patnaik-led state government had earlier ordered a crime branch investigation and judicial inquiry into the alleged rape.


With PTI inputs