Balasore: Hundreds of locals of Nilagiri in Balasore district staged a road blockade at Sajanagad on Thursday demanding justice for a tribal woman and action against three forest personnel, who had attempted to rape her.
Owing to the protest, vehicular traffic on the road connecting Shergad and Udala was disrupted for a couple of hours.
“It is quite unfortunate that the police, instead of initiating strict action against the accused, have taken eight villagers, including the victim’s husband, into custody. We demand justice for the innocent tribal woman and action against the accused,” said Jeevan Jibika Jungle Surakhya Manch convenor Rath Singh, who led the protest.
Apprehending breach of law and order, two platoons of police forces were deployed at the spot.
On April 21, the forest personnel had allegedly attempted to rape the woman while she was sleeping with her three-year-old daughter on a scaffolding inside Kuldiha sanctuary near Tenda village to protect her crops from wild animals.
Hearing her screams, a few villagers had rushed to the spot and caught hold of the trio. The villagers then tied them to a tree and alerted the police, who immediately reached the spot and arrested them.
The victim had also lodged an FIR in this regard at Nilagiri police station.
Forest Ranger Laxman Pradhan had, however, refuted the rape attempt charges.
“The husband of the woman, Sukant Singh, had killed a deer inside the sanctuary, day before yesterday. In this connection, the forest staff had gone to the village. But they did not find him there. However, they seized the veal from the house. Continuing with their search, the forest guards went to the scaffolding. Not finding him there, they came back,” he had said on the day the incident was reported.