The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rape slur on army

Kokrajhar, Nov. 27: Army jawans allegedly raped a 21-year-old woman in Gossaigaon sub-division of Assam’s Kokrajhar district yesterday and ransacked the police outpost that took up the case for nearly 30 minutes.

Gossaigaon sub-divisional officer Alok Kumar Saharia today instituted a magisterial inquiry into the alleged rape. Magistrate P.K. Doley, who will conduct the probe, has been asked to submit his report within three days.

The FIR was filed at Sapkata police outpost by a medical practitioner, who claimed that two army jawans came to his chamber and, finding the victim alone, raped her. They fled when the doctor, who identified himself as Lonkeswar Koch of Matiapara, reached the scene of the crime.

The victim, a Bodo woman, is from Suriapara. She was medically examined at Gossaigaon Civil Hospital, after which the FIR was filed.

General-officer-commanding (GOC) of the Rangiya-based 21 Mountain Division Maj. Gen. K.K. Kohli visited Gossaigaon this morning to enquire about the incident.

An army spokesperson later said: “We have begun an investigation and the GOC has made it clear that if the army personnel are found guilty, they will be dealt with severely.”

Nearly 2,000 people from different communities and organisations, including the All Bodo Students’ Union (Absu), staged a demonstration in front of the sub-divisional office. Saharia assured the crowd that the culprits would be nailed soon.

“We have evidence against the culprits and they will not be spared. We will go to the Sapkata army camp for an identification parade,” he said.

The Absu, the Bodo People’s Action Committee and the All Bodo Women’s Welfare Federation submitted a memorandum to the chief minister through the district deputy commissioner, seeking steps to prevent recurrence of atrocities on women by security forces.

They demanded payment of Rs 5 lakh as compensation to the victim.

In a separate statement, the organisations said: “Acts of barbarism against women have created panic among the Bodo people and the safety of women under such so-called army jawans is in doubt. If such inhuman acts by security forces recur, the Bodo people will be compelled to take to the path of agitation.”

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