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Third arrest in student rape

Barasat, Jan. 12: Police today arrested the third accused in connection with the alleged gang rape of a 15-year-old girl in North 24-Parganas last night.

Raj Gomes, a 22-year-old unemployed youth, was arrested this morning in an abandoned house in Gaighata. Last night, the police had arrested the other two youths named in the FIR — Balaram Mata, 21, and Jhinku Kirtania, 25. All three have been remanded in five days’ police custody.

Food and civil supplies minister Jyotipriya Mullick today visited the girl’s family and said he would try for a job for the girl’s mother. “We will extend all possible help to the girl,” Mullick said, adding that the family would get subsidised rice.

Sources said the police were looking for a middle-aged woman who had allegedly called the girl to a deserted place and left her alone saying she would return soon.

The Class IX girl, daughter of a mason, was returning home from a book shop around 9pm when she was called by the woman of her village. After the woman left the place, three youths came to the spot and dragged her to a nearby field where they took turns to rape her, the FIR said. They threatened to circulate her pictures if she raised an alarm.

The girl was today escorted to a Bongaon court, where she gave a confidential statement.

Last night’s alleged rape was the fourth such atrocity in North 24-Parganas in the past three months.

In October last year, a 16-year-old girl was raped twice in two days in Madhyamgram, following which she died of burn injuries she sustained after being allegedly set ablaze by friends of the youth who raped her. Days later, a deaf-and-mute girl was gang-raped in Baduria. In December, another girl was raped in Habra.

Murder remand

Nityananda Das alias Nityananda Shastri, the 32-year-old astrologer arrested in Siliguri in connection with the murder of three women in Murshidabad, was today remanded in 10 days’ police custody.