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Futile help for rape victim kin

The family of a Bhagalpur woman, who was raped 26 years ago, has received a mobile handset from a social group as a means to seek help during emergency but cannot use the gadget for want of necessary documents.

Members of Marwari Sewa Samiti, an NGO, presented the cellphone and household items like blankets, sari, fruits and medicines to the woman’s family. “We gave a mobile to the relatives of the woman because of security. In case of any emergency, they can use it,” Ram Gopal Poddar, the secretary of the organisation, said on Tuesday.

The victim’s relatives said they were in no position to use the phone. “We do not have the necessary documents to get a mobile connection. We have never used a mobile and do not know how to make a call from it. Besides, even if somebody teaches us how to use the phone, we are not in a position to afford bills,” said the youngest brother of the rape victim.

Monti Joshi, a member of the NGO, said they were mulling ways to help the victim’s family get a connection and use the phone.

Known to all in the town as Pagli (mad woman), the victim suffered first in the hands of a gang of criminals and then her husband. The frail woman now roams around on the streets in tattered clothes. Children tease her for her mental instability. An abduction case was lodged with the Ishak Chowk police station after “Pagli” went missing. The father had named the couple in the FIR. The case was lodged with the Ishakchak police station on October 30, 1987 under Section 336 of CRPC on October 10, 1987.

Various social groups on Tuesday urged police to reopen the case. Members of the groups handed over a memorandum to senior superintendent of police (Bhagalpur) K.S. Anupam, urging him to reopen the case closed by a local court on May 27, 1988.