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Eight held for school rapes

- Isolated Pakur cradle was easy target

Dumka, July 16: Acting fast, Pakur police today arrested eight persons allegedly involved in the gang rape of four minor Paharia girls in Pakur on Sunday night.

Pakur SP Y.S. Ramesh, who spoke with Labdaghati (not Labda as reported earlier) villagers extensively since yesterday morning, led a team that launched continuous raids to arrest eight men of the nine named in the FIR.

“The hunt for rest of the accused is on. We are determined to catch all of them and punish them. We are working on the case round-the-clock,” the SP told the media today.

Chief minister Hemant Soren also took his mind off political calculations ahead of Thursday’s floor test to promise that security at residential schools across Jharkhand would be stepped up.

The manner in which the crime was committed — the girls, between 12 and 14, were raped for over two hours barely 200 metres from the school premises — has evoked large-scale outrage.

Pakur deputy commissioner Fedilish Toppo also inspected the school. The district administration today handed over cheques of Rs 60,000 to each of the four girls. “This is for interim relief under government provision of compensation of Rs 1.20 lakh to be paid to such victims belonging to scheduled tribes by the welfare department,” Toppo told The Telegraph.

“The rest of the amount will be paid to them after the disposal of the case,” he added.

On Sunday, around two dozen masked men armed with knives and iron rods had broken into the kutcha building of the residential school-cum-vocational training centre run by Evangelical Church of India, and made off with the four tribal girls.

The lady warden and four male teachers, gagged, bound and locked in a room, could not do anything to protect the girls. Nor could the 130-odd fellow students.

DC Toppo added that an inquiry into the role of the school management about its “casual approach” towards security concerns of enrolled students would be a priority.

He said investigations would be launched and suitable action taken if it was found that the management of the school in question did not obtain requisite permission from the district education department.

Though remotely located, the school was formally inaugurated last year by then deputy development commissioner of Pakur Gouri Shankar Minj.

Toppo admitted there were other anomalies related to education of the Paharias.

“There are government schools for Paharias that are run by the special Paharia welfare department. But, due to accommodation crunch, many students of the primitive tribe are simultaneously admitted to government and missionary schools,” he said.