Kendrapara, Aug 13
Police are investigating claims that the two youths accused in the rape and murder of a Dalit girl in Kahrinasi villager are minors. The probe follows a complaint filed in this regard by a human rights activist with the Kendrapara Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) on Tuesday.
“The matter is being investigated. We are verifying school records to ascertain the age of the accused, Kendrapara Superintendent of Police Sarthak Sadangi said”
“We initially booked both under Sections – 307 (attempt to murder), 376 (rape), 34 (common intention) of the IPC and a section of the SC and ST (Atrocity Prevention) Act. Nobody told us before that the accused are minors,” he said.
Human rights activist BK Pati, who filed the complaint this morning, said both are minors as per school records. “Despite the grave nature of the offence allegedly committed by them, the law does not permit the police to send them to jail,” he said.
“Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) will take up the matter as juveniles deserve a chance to reform instead of punitive action,” said district JBB member Bipin Bihari Barik.
Section 16 of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act provides that a juvenile can only be kept at the special home till he or she attains 18 years, he said.
The 15-year-old school girl was allegedly raped and set ablaze by two youths in seaside village Kharinasi on July 28. The girl succumbed to her burn injuries on August 8. Both the accused are currently in jail.