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Protests erupt over Chirang rape

Protesters at a sit-in in front of the Chirang deputy commissioner’s office in Kajalgaon on Sunday. Telegraph picture

Kokrajhar, March 30: A day after a tribal girl was allegedly gang-raped and killed on the bank of the Makra river in Chirang district, thousands of people today joined the twin rallies at Kajalgaon in the district to protest the incident.

The girl, a first-year higher secondary student of Amguri Higher Secondary School, had gone fishing in the river along with another girl from her village, Boldigami, under Amguri police station in Bijni sub-division, when they were chased by about six to seven youths around 9am. The men caught the victim and allegedly gang-raped her before slitting her throat.

She died on the spot while her friend managed to escape and inform the villagers.

Various organisations, including the All Bodo Students’ Union (Absu), All Assam Minorities Students’ Union (AAMSU), All Assam Tribal Sangha, All Assam Tribal Youth League, All Bodo Women’s Welfare Federation (ABWWF) and All Assam Gorkha Students’ Union, jointly staged a three-hour sit-in in front of Chirang deputy commissioner’s office in Kajalgaon from 10am, while the Bodoland Students’ Union and the women’s wing of the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) staged another protest rally.

The organisations demanded death penalty to the accused, judicial inquiry by a sitting judge of high court and adequate compensation for the victim’s family.

Police had picked up 14 persons in connection with the crime yesterday, out of whom, the girl who escaped, has identified five persons.

“The five persons were produced before a court today and sent to judicial custody,” said Chirang deputy commissioner Virendra Mittal.

Absu president Pramod Boro criticised the state government for failing to provide safety and security to the people. “Chief minister Tarun Gogoi has totally failed to provide security to the life and property of the people,” he said. Boro demanded the administration to take strong steps to arrest the accused and punish them according to the law. He also demanded the government to make public the progress in the investigation and punish the guilty.

He also appealed to the people to maintain peace and harmony and thwart any elements trying to take advantage of the situation to create fresh trouble.

In a related development, the 12-hour curfew which was imposed from 6pm yesterday in areas under Bijni and Amguri police stations, was relaxed for two hours from 4 this afternoon.

Later in the evening, a peace and condolence candlelit rally was organised here in Kokrajhar town in memory of the victim. Organised by Discovery Club, a Kokrajhar-based NGO, various student unions including the Absu, ABMSU, AKRSU and Hindivasi Yuba Chatra Parishad, took part in the rally, from Rashmela ground via RNB Road and back to the ground. They demanded stern punishment for the culprits.


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