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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Second gang rape in a week

A 26-year-old woman was gangraped in Baruipur on Sunday night, the second such incident in the past week. The woman, employed as an ayah in a Park Circus nursing home, was raped by three armed youths who raided her shanty just as the World Cup final kicked off.

The young woman had returned from work in the evening. After completing her daily chores, she had gone to bed around 11 pm.

The assailants chose 11.30, kick-off time in Berlin, to swoop down on the shanty. Two other occupants of the house ' a 20-year-old ayah and a child ' were herded out and held at gunpoint outside, while the woman was raped.

The victim's woes began around four months ago, when she was deserted by her husband, a small-time trader.

She left her six-year-old son with her mother in Raidighi and came to Calcutta in search of work.

She found work as an ayah at the Park Circus nursing home and took up rented accommodation ' along with Mamata Moira, also an ayah ' in a shanty on a lonely stretch of Baruipur, South 24-Parganas.

A little before midnight on Sunday, as the world watched the World Cup, three armed men in their 20s stormed in and led Mamata Moira and Barun Naskar, the 12-year-old son of landlord Rajkumar Naskar, outside at gunpoint.

Inside, they gangraped the 26-year-old, warned her that they would be back and then left. Although the rapists' faces were covered with cloth, the victim told police that she could identify one of them.

She added that all three were drunk.

After the men left, the two women and the child raised an alarm. Local residents then alerted the police. A contingent from Baruipur thana arrived early on Monday.

Later in the day, additional superintendent of police (rural) A.K. Ghosh and sub-divisional police officer (Baruipur) K.P. Barui also visited the scene of the crime.

Although no arrest was carried out till late on Monday, police suspect the three rapists are members of the local Friends Club. The club, a tin-and-bamboo structure located near the victim's home, was razed on Monday morning. 'We have identified the entire gang and hope to arrest the culprits soon,' said S.N. Gupta, district superintendent of police (South 24-Parganas).

'We suspect that it was a crime of opportunity. The women were probably being watched by the gang members ever since they started living there. The shanty is in an isolated area, and they were attacked at a time when there was no one around because of the World Cup final,' said an officer assigned to the case.

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