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Teens raped at gunpoint

Teens raped at gunpoint

Author: Correspondent
Publication: The Telegraph
Date: January 31, 2007
URL: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1070131/asp/bengal/story_7329585.asp

Introduction: Police station doesn't lodge an FIR or start probe in a week

A gang of five raped two tribal teenagers of the same family holding their relatives at gunpoint in a Murshidabad village last week.

When the elders in the family went to lodge a complaint with Nabagram police station, the officers registered a general diary, not an FIR.

The police are under no obligation to begin a probe if a general diary is lodged and the Nabagram personnel did not start one. There was no attempt to send the two victims to a hospital for medical examination, which is statutory in case of a rape complaint.

Murshidabad superintendent of police Shankar Chakraborty came to know about the incident at Saoradanga, about 225 km from Calcutta, today. "I have asked the local police station to treat the complaint as an FIR and start a rape case immediately. Subdivisional police officer Ashesh Roy will inquire into why the investigation was not started earlier," he said.

The tribal family lives in separate huts on one plot in tribal-dominated Saoradanga.

On the night of January 24, eight armed miscreants raided three huts. They dragged all 13 family members out to a field, about 300 metres away, and beat them up. Then they made them squat and pulled away 19-year-old housewife Annapurna Maddi and her sister-in-law Sabita, 16 (names changed), further away. Five men took turns to rape them as the others held the girls' families at gunpoint.

When Annapurna's husband Dilip and his mother Mungli tried to resist, they were thrashed severely and revolvers were pressed against their heads.

"One of them (miscreants) held a revolver against my head. I watched helplessly as they raped my wife and sister," said Dilip.

Sabita is a candidate for this year's Madhyamik.

Dilip said the miscreants looted their belongings before they left. But they had apparently not come to commit dacoity. It could have been a tactic to scare them away from the plot on which his family had been living for 40 years. "A villager recently purchased the land. He wants us to flee the place," Dilip added.

The owner of the plot, Lulu Sheikh, denied the allegation. "I have no intention to evict Dilip and his family. They live in one corner of the 12-bigha plot and do not come in the way of cultivation," he said.

A local adivasi organisation has planned a procession to the Nabagram police station on November 10 to protest against the police's attitude towards tribals' complaints.

Snubbed by their boss, officers at the police station refused to speak.

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