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Schoolgirl raped, rod thrust down throat

- Police arrest farm labourer who lured victim out of home with promise of warm clothes & cycle

Malda, Dec. 22: A farm labourer in Malda allegedly raped a schoolgirl, then pushed a metal rod down her throat last night, the grisly torture similar to the New Delhi December 16 fatal assault on a paramedic last year.

Police said 27-year-old Abhay Mondal, who was arrested this morning from his home in Malda’s Kaliachak and has confessed the crime, had lured the girl out of her grandmother’s house with the promise of buying her warm clothes and a bicycle around 7pm yesterday.

About two hours later, a handful of villagers drinking tea in a stall about a kilometre from the girl’s home saw her. The girl’s clothes were torn and covered in blood and she was gasping for air.

The villagers informed Englishbazar police and somehow took the girl to Malda Medical College and Hospital.

The medical college vice-principal said she “had suffered grievous injuries”.

“We cannot say at the moment whether she will be able to speak again,” said doctor M.A. Rashid. “A metal rod was shoved down her throat and taken out by her attacker. She cannot speak as there is damage to her vocal cords,” he said.

The paramedic who was raped on a Delhi bus on December 16 last year was also brutalised with a metal rod by six youths who assaulted her. The attack and the girl’s death sparked protests in many cities and towns in India.

The police said Abhay was known to the girl as he worked with her mother, who is also a farm labourer.

The girl was staying in the house with her grandmother as her mother had gone to Gajole, also in Malda district and about 50km from the village, to work in a farm there. Till late this evening, the mother could not be contacted.

Malda superintendent of police Kalyan Mukherjee said the girl’s grandmother and uncle had told the police that Abhay was in a relationship with the girl’s mother. “The girl’s grandmother has told us that her daughter was in a relationship with the accused. So has the girl’s uncle,” the Malda police chief said.

The girl’s father died several years ago.

Ashim Chowdhury, one of five persons who took the girl to hospital, said he was drinking tea at a shop around 9pm when the girl came there. “It was a terrible sight. Her clothes were in tatters and bloody. She was gasping for breath. We immediately informed the police and arranged for an auto-rickshaw to take her to the hospital,” Ashim said.

According to the police, Abhay raped the girl in a mango orchard about a kilometre from her home.

Mukherjee said Abhay went to the girl’s house and took her out on his bicycle. “After raping her, he shoved an iron rod down her throat and left her for dead. The victim’s uncle has filed an FIR. We are trying to determine the motive behind the crime,” the district police chief said.

The girl reads in Class VII in a local school.

“The girl was unable to speak because of the injury to her throat. She, however, managed to write a name on a piece of paper. The name she wrote was “Abha”. We formed four teams led by sub-inspectors to look for “Abha”, but drew a blank,” Mukherjee said.

He said that after talking to the girl’s relatives, the police found out about Abhay, who used to frequent the girl’s grandmother’s home.

“The girl’s mother is a farm labourer and is working in Gajole. Mondol, too, is a farm labourer and that is how he and the girl’s mother met and were in a relationship, according to the family. We also found out that Abhay had given Rs 100 to the girl a few days ago. We arrested Abhay early today from a Kaliachak village.” Four of the six Delhi rapists have been sentenced to be hanged. One of the convicts allegedly committed suicide in jail. The sixth, who was a minor when he committed the crime, has been sentenced to confinement in a juvenile home for three years.

Burdwan assault

A 17-year-old girl, who took shelter in a Burdwan railway station platform on Thursday night after fleeing her Bankura home, was allegedly raped by a youth at a private lodge in the town.

In her police complaint, the victim said a youth, who identified himself as Raju, offered her a blanket and food on Thursday night after seeing her loitering on the platform.

He again came on Friday and told her to accompany him with a promise that he would send her back home. “But he took me to a private lodge and repeatedly raped me,” a policeman quoted the girl as saying.

The youth is yet to be arrested.