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CM orders judicial probe Into Kunduli gang rape case


 Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today ordered a judicial inquiry into the alleged gang rape of a minor tribal girl in Koraput district last month.

        The judicial probe was ordered a day after Odisha Police "ruled out" possibility of any rape despite the minor girl's claim that she was gang raped by four persons in uniform on October 10.

        A district judge will inquire into the alleged gang rape case under the provisions of the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952, an official statement issued by the chief minister's office said.

        Patnaik had earlier directed the Crime Branch of Odisha Police to investigate the matter.

        The girl has alleged that she was forcibly taken away by four persons in security forces uniform while she was returning home from local Kunduli market. The girl was treated at a local hospital and also in Saheed Laxman Naik Medical College Hospital, Koraput.

        Several activists and the girl's family members had rejected the police version and expressed displeasure over the way the medical examination of the minor girl was conducted.

        While the girl's family members had demanded a judicial inquiry, opposition BJP sought a CBI probe into the matter after the police claimed that the girl, who studies in class nine was not raped.

        Apart from Koraput SP K V Singh, Additional DGP of the Human Rights Protection Cell (HRPC) Mahendra Pratap had yesterday "ruled out" rape.

        "Medical and scientific experts were engaged to find out the truth. During the course of the investigation, the movement of the security forces, who were allegedly involved in the case, could not be established" Odisha DGP R P Sharma yesterday said.

        Pratap had said, "As per the doctors' opinion, there is no such evidence of gang rape or rape of the minor girl."

        "I have discussed the matter with all the medical experts treating the girl at Kunduli, Jeypore in Koraput district and at the MKCG Medical College Hospital in Berhampur during the course of the investigation," he said.

        Earlier, the Koraput police had registered a case of gang rape.

        The alleged gang rape of the tribal girl has sparked outrage in the state with the opposition parties staging protests, demanding justice for her.

The case triggered State-wide outrage forcing police to declare it as a ‘Red-flag’ case.

The girl was raped in a jungle area while returning alone from the nearby town where she had gone to take photographs. 

A case under Sections 376 (D) and 377 of IPC and Section 6 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act had been registered.

DGP RP Sharma had initially said that the  involvement of Maoists cannot be ruled out.

The Opposition BJP and Congress have targeted the State government on the issue and held protests in the area.

The victim also had repeatedly alleged that she was being forced, during her treatment in Saheed Laxman Nayak Medical College & Hospital in Koraput, to change her statement in which she had alleged rape by men in uniform.

The Odisha State Human Rights Commission too had sought a report from the State government on the incident.

However, the BJP said there is no justification in parallel Judicial and Crime Branch probe.

BJP leader Pratap Sadangi alleged that this was an attempt by the State Government to misguide the probe.

“The prestige of women in the State is at stake. It is surprising that the State government took one year to announce a judicial probe,” Sadangi said.

Road blockades, agitations and mass dharna were witnessed across the State over the alleged gang rape case.

EDITOR : Bijoy Ketan Mishra
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