One of the accused in the alleged gang rape of a 20-year-old girl from Nawagadh village, 30km from capital Ranchi, was arrested on Thursday.
The victim, a student of Ranchi Women’s College, had immolated herself after the incident on March 17 and died at Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) on Wednesday morning.
While Uttam Mahto is in the net, three others — including her boyfriend Preet Ranjan Prasad — are still at large.
The victim’s family has alleged that local police are trying to shield the culprits.
“Even in a sensitive case like this one, police did not react on time. They were informed early on Wednesday morning, but they did not even bother to visit the village. I seek justice for my daughter. Police are trying to distort facts,” the girl’s father said.
On Wednesday night, residents of Nawagadh gheraoed Sikidiri thana in protest against police inaction.
The victim, in her statement given to Bariatu police at RIMS, had alleged that Preet had called her to meet him on the afternoon of March 17.
Thereafter, he and his friends — George Kuzur, Gauri Shankar Munda and Uttam — raped her in a nearby field. Unable to bear the social stigma, she chose to die.
While the final statement of the victim, which is prime evidence in the case, is uncontested, parallel accounts regarding the motive of the crime are doing the rounds.
The local police account maintains that Preet, who was in a four-year-long relationship with the girl, committed the crime when she tried to sever ties with him and get married to another man.
However, the girl’s family has alleged that police are distorting facts.
According to them, it was Preet who had started avoiding the victim after he got a job with the railways. Apparently, he had decided to marry a girl of his family’s choice and the victim was trying to sustain their relationship.
Ranchi police declined to comment on the charges of the victim’s family and promised that the other accused would be arrested soon. “I am personally monitoring the case. They will be caught,” said SP (rural) A.V. Minz.
Local residents on Thursday morning blocked the Ranchi-Purulia road for three hours to protest crimes against women.