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Supreme Court takes note of Bengal gang-rape case, sends notice to state

New Delhi, Jan 24 (PTI): The Supreme Court on Friday took suo motu cognisance of a horrific incident of gang-rape of a young tribal woman by 13 villagers in West Bengal's Birbhum district and issued notice to the state government.

As soon as three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam assembled for the hearing, it expressed shock over the incident, which has grabbed headlines, and took cognisance of the matter.

The bench, which also justices Ranjan Gogoi and M Y Eqbal, passed the order and directed the district judge of Birbhum in West Bengal to visit the place and file a report before it within a week.

The gang-rape of the 20-year-old woman was allegedly ordered by a village head at a kangaroo court in Labhpur, about 200km from Kolkata, as punishment for falling in love with a man from a different religion.

She was gang-raped by 13 persons after a 'salishi sabha' or kangaroo court decided to punish her on January 21.

The tribal woman is battling for her life at a hospital in Suri.

The victim and her family members in their complaint before the police there had said that among those who brutalised her were people old enough to be her father.

The victim and her paramour were caught, tied to a tree and assaulted after which they were asked to pay a fine of Rs 50,000. The gang-rape took place after the girl expressed her inability to pay the amount.

All the accused, including village head (known in the area as 'morol'), have been arrested. The rape allegedly took place inside the morol's house.

All the 13 accused were presented before a court there which has remanded them to 14 days' judicial custody.


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