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Odisha auto driver held in molest case

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 25: Police today arrested an autorickshaw driver in connection with the molestation of a 19-year-old girl, who was later thrown off the three-wheeler on Sunday night in Bhubaneswar.

The driver, Suresh Malik, 38, was sent to Jharpada special jail following rejection of his bail plea at a local court here.

Police said Malik, who hails from Gop in Puri district, mainly operates at Vani Vihar here.

“The girl, during spot verification, identified him near Baramunda bus stand yesterday. We detained him on the spot. During interrogation, we found that he did not possess a valid driving licence,” said inspector in charge of Khandagiri police station Sanjeev Satpathy.

Malik used to ply his auto between Baramunda bus stand and Vani Vihar. The police said he had offered to drop the girl at Master Canteen even though it was not his regular route. The police were not sure whether the driver knew the other two passengers, who molested the girl and threw her off the vehicle. “We are yet to establish his relationship with the other two passengers. As the incident occurred in his auto, he was also responsible for the crime. We will take him on remand for further inquiries,” said a senior police officer.

The girl, who hails from Kendrapara district and had been staying at Master Canteen, was sent to a short-stay home at Janla on the city outskirts.

Art crusade

In another development, a graduate of B.K. College of Art today put up a painting on the roadside near Jaydev Bhavan depicting harassment of women.

Raghunath Sahu equated the harassment of women with desecration of nature. His painting attracted a lot of attention.

“Frequent cases of female harassment have become a major concern in the country. The persons, who are exploiting nature, are also like the rapists. So, I want to spread the message that we should come forward to save women as well as nature,” said Sahu, who has painted the upper part of his body in white and red colour.

Sunday’s incident was the second incident of sexual attack on women in the city in the past week.

On Wednesday, five people raped a dancer in a house at Saheed Nagar.

The victim in that case identified the four accused arrested in a test identification parade yesterday in jail.