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Hand over Bindhanima minor gang rape case to SIT, NCW tell state

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OST Bureau
New Delhi/Bhubaneswar, Jan 24:

Taking a serious view of the incident in which a 17-year old girl of Bindhanima village under Tigiria police station limits in Cuttack district was gang raped by six men for three days in an abandoned hut atop a hill near the village after kidnapping her from the village on September 6 last year and subsequent release of the accused on bail, the National Commission for Women (NCW) has directed the state government to immediately transfer the case to a Special Investigation Team (SIT).

The SIT must have police officers with expertise in crime investigation with at least one lady officer. It should be headed by an officer not below the rank of deputy commissioner, the Commission said in a letter to the state government on Thursday.

The Commission also directed the state government to provide adequate security to the victim and her family within 24 hours of receiving the directive and provide an interim relief of Rs 5 lakh to the victim.

“The incident is powerful enough to cripple the victim for rest of her life. It is duty of the state government to ensure that she lives a life of dignity, overcoming the enormity of the tragic incident. Since the victim is a matriculate, the state government is directed to take adequate steps for her suitable employment at the earliest,” the Commission said in its order.

The state government was also directed to immediately formulate a compensation policy for rape victims with a stipulated time frame for delivery and strict punishment for non-compliance by the concerned authorities.

Besides, the state government was also asked to formulate a protocol regarding investigation into rape cases based on the JS Verma Committee Report with immediate effect and appoint a special public prosecutor for trial of the case in court.

The Commission directed the state chief secretary to submit details regarding action taken on the report within 10 days of receiving the directive.

Last but not the least, the Commission has directed the state government to table its report in the State Assembly in its next session as per section 10(3) of National Commission for Women Act 1990, with a memo explaining the action taken on it.

“How many instances we have in the history of independent India when six men gang rape a minor girl consecutively for three days and are out on bail, due to laxity in investigation, while the 17-year old victim, after undergoing such a horrific ordeal, had to sit on dharna and threaten self-immolation against the shameful apathy of the state government”, the Commission said in its letter.

It may be mentioned that the two-member team of the Commission, comprising Manasi Pradhan and Hemlata Kheria, during its two-day visit to the state on November 15 and 16 last year, had recorded the statements of the victim, victim’s parents and other witnesses at Bindhanima.

Later it visited the spot of the crime and made a detailed inquiry into the circumstances that led to the incident.