Tezpur, Aug. 28: Police resorted to blank firing and tear-gassing at Likabali in Arunachal Pradesh’s West Siang district today to disperse a mob that was demanding that a rape accused be handed over to them for trial in a traditional court.
Likabali police station officer-in-charge D. Dulom was among those injured in the stone throwing by the mob protesting against the alleged rape of 14 students of Green Valley Residential English School by Vipin Wisvan, the warden of the girls’ hostel.
The school, which is located at Liku village in the subdivision, about 360km from the state capital Itanagar, has classes from lower kindergarten to Class VII. The girls’ hostel accommodates nearly 40 students.
West Siang district deputy commissioner Manoj Kumar Sahoo told The Telegraph that the mob had tried to damage a wall of the school building this morning and had hurled stones at policemen stationed near it. “The situation is under control and our officers are requesting the protesters not to take the law into their own hands,” he said.
The warden was arrested last evening after a complaint of rape was lodged at the Likabali police station. He was produced in court this evening and remanded in police custody.
West Siang superintendent of police S.C. Yadav said 14 students were examined at the Likabali community health centre.
Sahoo said a medical board was being constituted to examine the alleged victims. He said there were allegations that 14 students had been molested.
Sources said when the victims were examined at a hospital at Likabali, no injury marks or rupture of the hymen were detected.
“We need to have more than one doctor to conduct the examination and hence, the medical board. We should have the reports by tomorrow or the day after,” a source said, adding that the hospital findings had not been made available officially. “We have come to know of the findings from other sources,” a source said.
Sources said the case would be fast-tracked and the girls would be taken to Itanagar for medical help.
Several organisations called a strike today in protest against the development.
Inspector-general of police (central range) Garima Bhatnagar told this correspondent that the incident came to light when some students managed to file a report at Likabali police station on Monday. A case (no. 19/13) was subsequently registered under Sections 376 and 354 IPC. “We arrested the accused after registering a case in this connection. The girls were sent for medical examination.”
She said there were allegations of several girls having suffered various forms of molestation over a period of time. “Investigations are on,” she said.
“There were some allegations against the principal as well but we did not find his involvement. Some people wondered how the principal could have remained ignorant of the incidents,” she said.
Irate parents and local residents had broken windowpanes of two school buses last evening on the school premises. “Even today, there was a law and order situation when people tried to storm the house of the accused. But we managed to prevent any untoward incident,” Bhatnagar said. “The school is closed today.”
She said the people were demanding that bail not be given to the accused, a speedy trial and capital punishment to the guilty.
According to PTI, after committing the offence, the accused had allegedly threatened the girls with dire consequences if they disclosed anything to their parents.
It has also been alleged that when the students brought the matter to the knowledge of the school principal yesterday, he tried to hush it up. A few students then mustered the courage to scale the boundary wall and report the matter to the police.
The Arunachal Law Students Union, Galo Students’ Union and All Galo Students’ Union condemned the incident and appealed to the authorities not to grant bail to the culprit. Other organisations, too, demanded harsh punishment to the offender.