Reported by Santosh Jagdev/Edited by Sandeep Sahu
Bhubaneswar, Aug 22:
Expressing concern and displeasure over the State Government’s callousness in investing the rape and murder of 14-year-old blind girl at Beladal on the Puri-Konark marine drive on June 7 last, the National Commission for Women (NCW) on Thursday recommended the formation of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) for proper and speedy investigation of the case.
The two-member team of the NCW comprising Hemlata Kheria and Manasi Pradhan suggested the immediate transfer of the case to SIT consisting of police officers with expertise in crime investigation with at least one lady officer and headed by an officer not below the rank of Deputy Commissioner with a mandate to complete the investigation within 60 days. The recommendation came after the two NCW members visited the victim’s native place, Puri District Headquarters Hospital, concerned police stations and talked to concerned officials from July 17 to July 23.
The committee, in its report, stated that the State Government had failed to initiate a serious inquiry into the heinous incident. “Even clear Supreme Court guidelines for conducting rape investigations by an expert woman police officer under the supervision of a police officer not below the rank of ACP with active participation of a forensic expert has been thrown to the winds by the State Government,” the report observed.
The report raised questions on the post mortem report of the victim and stated that the police have failed to acquire a DNA test report of the swabs collected from the victim’s body, which is a minimum requirement in rape investigations to ascertain the number of persons involved.
It blasted the State Government for its Rs 10,000 compensation to victim’s family and suggested a compensation of Rs 10 lakh instead. Besides, the committee recommended the appointment of a special public prosecutor for trial of the case in a fast track court.
“Though four cases of rapes have occurred on the Puri-Konark marine drive in the last two years and the NCW chief Mamta Sharma, during her last visit to the place, had suggested 24-hour patrolling in the region, we found no trace of any patrolling vehicle in the eight hours we spent during course of inquiry on the marine drive,” said the report.
The committee also found that none of the major police stations in Puri had even a functional ‘Women’s Desk’ and the city was devoid of even a single ‘Women’s Police Station.’
The committee also recommended a special ‘Women’s Protection Force’ for Puri and a well equipped intensive care unit at Puri District Headquarters Hospital, a women’s Police Station in Puri and augmentation of Women Security at Puri Railway Station.