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‘Gang-raped’ teen sets herself on fire

A 16-year-old girl, who was allegedly gang-raped twice in two days in October, set herself ablaze at her home on Monday following relentless pressure to withdraw her complaint, police said.

The girl, currently undergoing treatment at the burns unit of RG Kar Medical College and Hospital, was allegedly being threatened by a friend of the main accused to take back her complaint.

“The condition of the patient is very critical… more than 60 per cent burns,” said a senior official of the hospital.

Doctors say any burn injury above 50 per cent is considered critical.

Police said the girl was alone at home and neighbours heard her scream around 2.30pm. Since the parents were away, the residents of the locality broke down the door of the shanty and pulled her out.

Her father, a taxi driver, alleged that a friend of the accused had been threatening her. The family had shifted to the current address from Madhyamgram where the teenager was allegedly gang-raped almost two months ago.

“My daughter is under constant pressure to withdraw the rape complaint. They were threatening almost every day when we were at Humaipur in Madhyamgram. That is why we shifted to this place near the Adhai Number Gate of the airport. The threats didn’t stop, though. The persistent torture has made my daughter extremely depressed. She is scared of going out because of the threats,” he alleged.

Santosh Nimbalkar, deputy commissioner of police, Bidhannagar commissionerate, said the investigators would focus on two angles: the alleged threats from the rape accused and a purported mother-daughter quarrel that might have led the teen to take the drastic step. “We are probing all possible angles. We will try to find out if anyone was mounting pressure on the girl to retract her complaint,” he added.

It has been alleged that the teen was not in good terms with her mother and they were seen fighting every now and then. The family has yet to lodge a complaint about threats that the girl has allegedly been receiving.

The police have started a suo motu case and visited the spot. “We have not found any suicide note,” Nimbalkar said.

The girl had alleged that she was gang-raped twice — on the night of October 25 and the following day — after a fish trader named Chottu had lured her out of the family’s Madhyamgram house. She said Chottu told her that her father was at a nearby tea stall and had asked him to fetch her.

When she was walking with the youth towards the stall barely 200m away, five-six young men surrounded her and took her to a house in the locality. The girl alleged that the youths took turns to rape her in a room.

Next afternoon, when she was returning home after lodging a complaint with Madhyamgram police, the youths allegedly pushed the father off a cycle van and abducted her. The teen alleged that she was dragged into a taxi and raped again.

All the seven accused were arrested. “Though the culprits are in jail, their friends have been harassing my daughter,” the father alleged. “I didn’t go to the police because I thought this might bring more trouble,” he added.