Koraput: Three-and-half months after being allegedly gang raped, the Kunduli victim of Musaguda village in Odisha’s Koraput district committed suicide on Monday.
The family members, after finding her in a critical condition, rushed her to a government hospital at Kunduli where the doctors declared her as received dead, said Sunabeda sub-divisional police officer Narahari Nayak.
On October 10, the victim (14), a Class IX student of Government Welfare School at Sorisapadar, had gone to Kunduli market to obtain a document and a few passport size photographs. On her way back, she was allegedly gang raped by four uniformed personnel in Lanjiguda forest.
The girl later managed to reach home and narrated the ordeal to her mother. She was rushed to a hospital in Kunduli and later to the Saheed Laxman Nayak Medical College and Hospital at Koraput as her condition deteriorated.
The incident had sparked statewide public outcry. Demanding arrest of the accused, the Koraput District Congress Committtee observed Koraput bandh on October 16.
The State Police and the Crime Branch probed into the case, but could not nab the accused. The additional director general of Human Rights Protection Council (HRPC) Mahendra Pratap gave a twist to the tale by mentioning in his report that there was no veracity in the allegation made by the victim. Subsequently, the State Police also maintained that there was no evidence of gang rape. This compelled the Odisha government to order a judicial probe by the Koraput district judge into the incident.
The victim was admitted to the SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack and kept in the ICU of the medicine ward on the ground that her mental condition was not stable.
Alleging that the victim was forcibly admitted at SCB on government orders, the Congress had staged a sit-in dharna. Soon after, she was discharged from the hospital and handed over to her family members. But the victim is said to have been in constant mental stress as her allegations were proved false.
On hearing the tragic incident, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed deep grief and conveyed his deep sympathy to the bereaved family, an official release said.
Monday’s sad turn of events gave the opposition Congress and BJP ammunition to attack the ruling BJD. Both parties demanded chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s resignation and a CBI probe into the incident. Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee president Prasad Harichandan squarely blamed the state government for the girl’s suicide and said, “The victim was forced to take the extreme step because the state government could not give her justice. Chief minister Naveen Patnaik, instead of tom-toming that he is the ‘adarsh mukhyamantri (ideal CM)’, should own moral responsibility and step down.”
His partymate Taraprasad Bahinipati said since neither the State Police and nor the Crime Branch have properly investigated the case, a CBI probe would bring truth to the fore.
Stating that the state government has failed to give justice to the Harijan and Advasi communities, senior BJP leader Jayaram Pangi echoed Bahinipatiu’s version and said a CBI probe would unravel the truth.
In his reaction, Union Tribal Affairs minister Jual Oram (BJP) said the chief minister should tender his resignation by owning moral responsibility as he has failed to give justice to the victim and her family. “This is not a suicide rather a calculated murder. The DGP and SP have tortured the victim. The CBI should probe into the incident to bring out the truth,” he said.
Expressing shock over the incident, president of the BJP State Mahila Morcha Pravati Parida said the Morcha would launch a two-day statewide protest stir.
Asked about the incident, minister Surya Narayan Patro (BJD) said the state government has taken the matter seriously and will take appropriate steps.