The police in Odisha on Wednesday said that a 15-year-old girl was allegedly gangraped for 22 days in Cuttack city, the Hindustan Times reported. The city’s Deputy Commissioner of Police Prateek Singh said one of the accused was arrested and search for the other one is under way.
The two accused also recorded the incident and threatened the girl. “We have launched a manhunt for the other accused,” Singh told the newspaper. “A team has been constituted to nab the second accused.”
The girl, a Class 9 student from Jagatsinghpur district, had come to stay with her elder sister and brother-in-law in Cuttack about three weeks ago, after a fight with her parents, the police said. However, her brother-in-law did not want to her stay there for long and asked her to return home.
While she was waiting to board a bus at the OMP Square in Cuttack on September 20, a man, identified as Santosh Behera, approached her. He promised to drop her at the Badambadi bus stand, but instead took her to a farmhouse of his friend, Raka, near Gatiroutpatna village.
“The youth along with his associate Raka sexually abused the girl at the farm for 22 days,” an unidentified police official of Chauliaganj police station told the Hindustan Times. “They also recorded a video of the incident and threatened to kill her or post the video on social media if she attempted to escape or dared to report the matter.”
The girl was rescued on October 12 after locals, suspecting illegal activities at the farmhouse, alerted the police. She was produced before the district Child Welfare Committee and sent to an orphanage, according to PTI.
Narayan Shukla, coordinator of Cuttack Childline, said the 15-year-old’s mental and physical condition is not good. “She is very scared,” Shukla added. “In her statement before the District Child Protection Officer, she has narrated about her ordeal. We have contacted the Childline in Jagatsinghpur district for informing her family there. We are also trying to contact her elder sister in Cuttack.”
A case under Sections 376D (gangrape), 376A (causing death to victim) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code and section 6 of Pocso Act has been registered against the accused at Chauliaganj police station.
‘What was the police doing,’ asks BJP leader
The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress criticised the Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal government over the incident, reported NDTV.
BJP leader Lekhashree Samantsinghar accused the state administration of falling to ensure the safety of women in the state. She also pointed out that a bye-poll is scheduled for next month in the constituency, and asked how “will the government face the people”. “How come the police were unaware of the incident?” she further said. “What was the police doing?”
Samantsinghar also questioned the silence of state women commission chief, women and child development minister, the home minister and the chief minister.
Congress spokesperson Nishikant Mishra said the gangrape shows that women in the state are not safe at all. He demanded an assistance of Rs 25 lakh for the family of the girl and said the incident should be investigated by the crime branch.