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Kharinashi rape accused ‘minors’, claims activist


Kendrapara, Aug 30

The controversy over the age of two accused in the alleged rape and murder of a Dalit girl in Kendrapara district has come under judicial scrutiny.

The matter was heard by the district and sessions judge here on Friday on a complaint lodged by a human rights activist, who claimed that the offenders were minors.

The court, while admitting the petition, has called for admission registers of the school where the accused had been enrolled as students in the past. The school authorities, who were earlier summoned, submitted the admission registers in connection with the litigation.

The court has posted the matter for hearing on September 14.

The 13-year-old school girl of a local government-run school was allegedly gang-raped and set ablaze by two youths in seaside village Kharinashi on July 28. Later, the girl succumbed to burn injuries on August 8.

Meanwhile, police have also launched a separate probe by human rights protection cell wing into the age controversy.

“Police are looking into the ‘age-angle’ of the accused. If they are found to be minors, they would be sent to child reform home. Their trial would take place at juvenile court,” Kendrapara SP Sarthak Sarangi said.

“As per school records, both are minors and despite the grave nature of offence allegedly committed by them, the law does not permit police to send them to jail,” human rights activist B K Pati said.

Pati said 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 attains 18 years.

Police had sent the duo to judicial custody as nobody claimed the minor status of the accused.

Meanwhile, another person has been detained by police in connection with the case.

The victim’s dying declaration was recorded by Kendrapara police in presence of a magistrate in SCB Medical College and Hospital at Cuttack on July 29. In her dying declaration, the victim named the detained person though he did not figure in the list of accused persons in the FIR.

The person is being interrogated. It is being ascertained whether he was at the spot when the crime was committed or he abetted to the offence, the SP said. (PTI)