8 charged with rape and murder of minor in Assam

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Guwahati, April 28: Police in central Assam’s Nagaon district have charged eight persons, including two juveniles, with the rape and murder of a 12-year-old minor, a case that was cited to question the “selective outrage” over the Kathua rape and murder of a minor.
The girl, a class V student, was gagged, gang-raped, doused in kerosene and set ablaze on March 23. The complaint at the Batadraba police station said she managed to name the accused before she was taken to the Guwahati Medical College Hospital, where she died that night of severe burn injuries.
A case was registered against at least half a dozen people, including two boys, under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
On April 27, investigation officer Dhiren Kakoti presented a 158-page charge sheet at a meeting of the special investigation team that Nagaon Superintendent of Police Shankar Brata Raimedhi presided over. The charge sheet, listing 50 prosecution witnesses, was subsequently filed against eight persons in a local court.
The main charge of rape and murder was brought against Zakir Hussain and two juveniles. Five others — Abdul Rajek, Zubeda Khatun, Muklesur Rahman, Abdul Rashid and Fakruddin — were charged with harbouring the offenders and destruction of evidence.
Police said one of the juvenile accused, a 12-year-old, was the girl’s classmate while the other was her 11-year-old cousin. Hussain, the main accused, was the girl’s neighbour.
The Batadraba case did not get much traction until the BJP’s national spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi alluded to it on April 13 after the rape and murder of an 8-year-old in Kathua.
More sexual assaults
At least two more cases of sexual assault were reported across Assam during the last 24 hours. One of these involved the head master of a school in central Assam’s Hojai district, arrested for allegedly molesting a class V girl. Locals thrashed the accused before he was handed over to the police.
In the other case, police in western Assam’s Dhubri district filed a complaint against an unnamed accused after the body of a woman, allegedly raped and murdered, was found in a field in the Chapar area.
On April 24, an under-trial prisoner allegedly raped a woman inside Diphu jail in central Assam’s Karbi Anglong district. The victim is the wife of a constable posted in the jail. The incident came to light on April 28 after the victim filed a complaint with the local police. Police said the constable had handed a packet of biscuit to the accused asking him to deliver it to his wife at his official residence inside the jail complex. The prisoner allegedly took advantage while delivering the packet. The constable is learnt to have asked the jailer to parade the inmates before his wife for identification of the culprit. The victim approached the police after the jailer allegedly took no action for four days.
“The incident has two-three versions, and each seems to be plausible. There is mismatch in the statements of the people too,” the district’s Superintendent of Police V. Sivaprasad Ganjala said. A worrying factor, he said, was that a person supposed to be in captivity got free access to the official residence of a constable.
Alert women save girl
Two alert women saved a girl from being sexually assaulted by three men in the Brahmaputra island of Majuli, the Assembly constituency represented by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
While rowing a boat on April 27, the two women noticed some commotion on the banks. On closer look, they saw three men on a motorcycle dragging a girl away. They called the police, who foiled the men’s attempt in harming the girl. The trio is absconding, police said. (Courtesy: The Hindu)