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Imphal youth held for rape

- NGO demands trial expedited and justice for victim

Imphal, Jan. 24: Police have arrested an unemployed youth for raping a 23-year-old woman on a hillock in Imphal West yesterday and are looking for two others accused of “abetting” the crime.

The police said Khuraijam Abung, 35, was arrested yesterday from Mantripukhri, his neighbourhood on the outskirts here.

A local court has remanded him in police custody till January 31.

The victim and Abung were medically examined at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences here today and the victim’s statement recorded. The police have collected the garments worn by the girl at the time of the assault.

The police said Abung and two friends, Khuraijam Khamba and Nongthonbam Bocha, found the girl strolling with her boyfriend on the foothills of Khathing Ching around 1pm yesterday. The place is close to her home. “The trio dragged me up the hillock where Abung assaulted me. I want befitting punishment for the culprits,” the victim told reporters today.

According to the complaint lodged with Heingang police station by an uncle of the girl, the trio snatched away the mobile phones of the victim and her boyfriend. After the assault, the accused asked her to bring Rs 10,000 if she wanted to get her mobile phone back. The victim’s boyfriend was freed one hour later and asked to come back with Rs 5,000 in return for his mobile phone, according to the complaint.

“The meira paibis (women activists) came to know of the incident yesterday morning. We caught Abung and handed him over to the police,” Wakambam Loni, a meira paibi leader of Mantripukhri said. Before the police took Abung away, the victim identified him. The police said they were looking for the other two accused.

Women Action for Development (WAD), an NGO working on women’s issues, demanded speedy investigation into the case and production of a prompt chargesheet. “We can check such crimes only when the culprits are brought to book without much delay. We demand speedy trial and quick justice,” Bijaya Laitonjam, a spokesperson for the NGO, said.

The incident happened at a time when the NGO has been campaigning for checking crimes against women. On Monday, the NGO had organised a rally at Uchiwa in Imphal East and such a rally was held at the border township of Moreh today.