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Most ‘rapists’ in Chanho were from one family

Ranchi, April 29: Jharkhand state women’s commission chairperson Mahua Maji today took suo motu cognisance to start an inquiry into yesterday’s alleged gang rape of a 32-year-old BJP worker hailing from the minority community in Chanho block.

The most startling fact that emerged from Maji’s probe was that most of the accused — 22 persons in all — were members of a single family.

In the FIR with Chanho police station, the victim had accused 22 persons of her own community of raping her at her Masmano home, 40km from Ranchi.

The woman alleged the brutality was perpetrated on her because of her political affiliations. Seven persons, including a 62-year-old man and his two sons had been named in the FIR, while the rest were not identified.

Maji, who started the probe, went to Masmano and spoke to local residents, including neighbours, for an hour between 1pm and 2pm.

The women’s commission chief also went to Sadar Hospital to speak to the victim, who had been brought to the hospital for the second consecutive day for a medical test, the one today conducted by a medical board comprising three lady doctors.

“I spoke to the woman’s husband and daughter as well as other villagers. Most of those accused are from a single family and their ages are between nine to 62 years. The victim and the family of the accused are neighbours and know each other,” she said.

Asked for her observations, Maji declined to say anything before getting the medical examination report.

“The doctors (at Sadar Hospital) said they had constituted a medical board. Let their report come. Right now, I am not in a position to come to any conclusion,” she said.

Ranchi SSP Prabhat Kumar said SP (rural) S.K. Jha had been assigned to supervise the case.

“We have started the probe, but we are not willing to arrest anyone without probing all angles. We are waiting for medical and forensic reports. Emerging information suggests the victim had an old rivalry with the accused,” Kumar said.

On the assumption that the accused were close to the Congress and the case was open to political pressure given the fact that two national political parties were involved, the SSP said it was not so.

“The persons who are accused of raping the woman as well as the victim may be under pressure from their respective political parties. The police are not,” he said.

However, state president of BJP minority cell Mohammed Kazim has expressed his dissatisfaction with the police investigation.

“The police have become the judiciary,” Kazim said.

Coming down heavily on the police releasing the main accused yesterday, he said: “It released the rape accused on personal bond, which is something I have seen happening for the first time.”

Kazim even threatened to launch an agitation. “We have decided to meet the rural SP and ask him to act properly or get ready to face an agitation,” he said.

Yesterday, Chanho police had arrested the 62-year-old man. When he said he couldn’t have done the act due to his age and that too with his sons, he was sent home on personal bond.