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Friend of ‘rapist’ found hanging

Burdwan, Dec. 25: One of the three persons who was with the main accused in the alleged rape in Burdwan on Sunday was found hanging at his cowshed last night after a kangaroo court imposed a fine of Rs 1.7 lakh on the group.

Raju Singh, a farm labourer who was questioned by police and later released, was found hanging by his sister-in-law in Jadavganj, 55km from Burdwan town.

Raju was not charged with rape.

“He had been missing for at least a couple of hours. I went to feed the cows at 8.30pm when I found him hanging,” Archana Singh, the sister-in-law, said.

Haradhan Mohli of Jadavganj, where the kangaroo court was held yesterday, said: “We decided that the matter could best be resolved through talks. A decision was taken that the woman would be given Rs 1.7 lakh if she withdrew the case. The money would have to be paid by the four.”

Raju was one of the four persons who had gone to a jungle in Ausgram for a picnic on Sunday. His friend, Hirak Bishnu, allegedly raped the woman who was collecting sal leaves. Hirak, according to the police, has confessed to the crime.

The police said a committee has been set up to probe Raju’s death.

A police officer in Ausgram said the woman today refused to undergo the mandatory medical test at Burdwan Medical College and Hospital.

Burdwan superintendent of police S.M.H. Meerza said: “The woman was brought for the medical test but she refused to do it. We are confused why she did not agree for the test despite lodging a complaint of rape through her daughter.”

Meerza added that the woman would now have to appear before a magistrate and give a statement.

“We will try our best to take her to a magistrate in a day or two,” the SP said.

The woman refused comment.

Her husband, who is a labourer, said: “ I don’t know why my wife refused to undergo the medical test.”