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Gang-raped teenager dies

- Set herself on fire after threats to withdraw complaint

The 16-year-old girl who was gang-raped twice in October in Madhyamgram died on Tuesday, eight days after she set herself on fire because of alleged threats from people related to her tormentors.

According to the authorities of RG Kar hospital where she was admitted on December 23, her vital organs were gravely damaged in the fire and infection had set in.

“She was brought to our hospital in a very critical condition… 40 per cent burns. Her face and the area around her throat were severely burnt. Her trachea was damaged and this caused a condition called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), hampering normal breathing,” said S. Batabyal, the principal of the hospital and medical college.

He said the girl’s stomach and lower abdomen had burn injuries too.

“The girl was initially in the burns unit of the emergency ward. The next day, she was shifted to the surgery ward. But as it often happens in such cases, infection set in and she developed sepsis. Despite our best efforts, we lost her this afternoon,” he added.

The urine sample taken at the time of her admission had indicated pregnancy, hospital sources said.

The girl’s mother had gone to the market when she set herself on fire. She fainted several times after hearing the death of her daughter.

“I want the men who tortured my daughter to be hanged. I lost my daughter, my only child. I want the rapists to be so severely punished that no one dares to commit such crimes any more,” she said.

The girl was gang-raped by a group of six youths from the locality in Madhyamgram where she used to stay with her parents. She was abducted and raped again the following day when she was returning with her father from Madhyamgram police station where they had lodged a complaint of rape. The medical test had confirmed the rape.

Police later arrested six youths, including prime accused Chhotu Talukdar. They are currently in jail.

The girl’s father, a taxi driver, took the family out of Madhyamgram after the incident hoping that the change would help his daughter lead a normal life. “I took a room on rent near the airport but the landlord turned out to be a relative of one of Chhotu’s friends. Soon the threats started. We were constantly hounded by the friends and relatives of the culprits, especially the main accused, to withdraw the police complaint,” he alleged.

The parents alleged that the house-owner’s son Ratan Sil and his cousin Minta, a friend of Chhotu, used to frequently visit them and abuse their daughter. “Hours before she took the drastic step in the morning on December 23, Minta came to our house and threatened us. After knowing that my daughter was a rape victim, the landlady had asked us to vacate the room within a month,” the father alleged.

He had lodged an FIR with the airport police station against Minta and Ratan “for driving my daughter to set herself on fire”. The duo have been arrested too.

“We had booked them for criminal intimidation. Since the girl has died, the accused will be charged under IPC section 306 (abetting suicide) that may land them in jail for 10 years if found guilty,” said a police officer.

If it’s proved that the accused in the gang-rape case had instigated Ratan and Minta to abuse the victim, an additional charge of abetting suicide would be slapped on them, an officer of the airport police station said.

The girl’s death triggered CPM-led protests along Jessore Road and VIP Road.

Calcutta police have kept the body at Nimtala burning ghat, awaiting the family to take possession of it and perform the rituals.

The girl’s cousin said the family expected justice from chief minister Mamata Banerjee. The parents will meet governor M.K. Narayanan at 1.30pm at Raj Bhavan.