Ranchi police swung into action on Tuesday and arrested eight of the nine persons alleged to have gang-raped a minor at Kamre in Ratu on the capital’s outskirts where she had gone to visit a temple with a youth on Sunday.
According to police, who received the complaint from the victim’s family members after over 24 hours on Monday, five of the eight rounded up from Ratu, Banhora and Burmu appear to be minors with one of them aged only 12 — the revelation bringing the spotlight back to juvenile criminals and the legalities that allow them to get off with lenient punishments.
All the arrested hail are from Banhora and Kamre in the Ratu police station area and have confessed to their crime.
“At least five of the arrested look like minors and school dropouts. The ages of the rest have to be ascertained. All of them belong to poor families. While some had raped the girl, others helped in kidnapping her from near the temple at Kamre,” said Ranchi SSP Bhim Sen Tuti.
The ninth accused, who has been identified, may not be a minor, sources said.
First, the police arrested three of them from Ratu around 9.30 in the morning. Thereafter, two more were picked up from Burmu. On the basis of information provided by the five, police rounded up three more accused from Banhora.
According to the FIR, the incident took place after 5pm. The 16-year-old girl, who is from Pandra, had gone to her coaching centre. After classes got over, she and a youth decided to visit the temple at Kamre, some 23km from the district headquarters.
The alleged rapists were loitering around near the temple and on seeing the two, they began teasing the girl. When she and her friend protested, some of the accused held him captive by brandishing a sharp-edged weapon.
Six of them then dragged the girl a little distance away behind the temple and raped her on the banks of a rivulet.
The FIR adds that the minor was raped till around 8pm after which the accused fled. The victim has also said that her tormentors filmed the rape on a mobile phone. However, the phone is yet to be found.
The girl has been taken to Sadar hospital for medical examination. Police are waiting for a detailed medical report.
Asked whether the five boys would be booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, as the victim is a minor, the SSP said: “The FIR was lodged under POCSO Act against unknown persons since details and identities of the accused were not available then. We will seek legal opinion now.”
|Ranchi Sadar Hospital, where the 16-year-old gang rape
victim has been admitted.
Picture by Hardeep Singh
Ranchi witnessed a steady rise in rape cases in the past three years. In 2011, the
district recorded 84 cases. The number was slightly lower — 78 — in 2012, but leapt
to 97 in 2013 (till November). Some of the recent incidents
November 2013: An 11-year-old tribal girl was raped in Bariatu. Police later arrested the accused, Goldie Khan
August 2013: A minor girl was gang-raped by seven boys in Bundu while she was returning from Jamshedpur with her fiancé. All were arrested
April 2013: A six-year-old girl, a student of Class II,
was raped and killed in Doranda. Her body was found from an under-construction building near her house.
One person was arrested
March 2013: A college girl committed suicide in Sikidiri after being allegedly raped by her lover and three others. On the basis of her dying statement, police arrested her boyfriend Vritranjan Prasad and his friends Utam Mahto, Gouri Shankar, Munda and J. Kujur