|Congress chief Sukhdeo Bhagat and ministers Geetashree Oraon and Rajendra Singh speak to the victim’s family in Gomia, Bokaro, on Monday. Picture by Pankaj Singh
Gomia (Bokaro), July 14: The 11-year-old rape survivor of the Gulgulia tribe received VIP visitors at her Gomia home this morning, as ministers Rajendra Prasad Singh and Geetashree Oraon, as well as state Congress chief Sukhdeo Bhagat met her with announcements of cash compensation amounting to Rs 5.5 lakh.
The same afternoon, Bokaro police arrested Sukunda Devi, the wife of rapist Nakabandi Pasi, exactly a week after the enraged woman had stormed the minor girl’s house, pulled her by the hair and handed her over to her husband for the socially sanctioned sexual assault.
With her arrest, the woman joins the three men already jailed for this horrific case — her husband Nakabandi, her father-cum-Gulgulia community elder Ghoshal Pasi and the minor girl’s own brother Harendra, who had triggered the “revenge-rape” by groping Sukunda.
A couple of days after the case jolted Rajya Sabha and made national headlines and a day after chief minister Hemant Soren announced damages and speedy redress, his cabinet minister Singh announced sums of Rs 2 lakh from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund and Rs 1.5 lakh from the Bokaro administration. State Congress chief Bhagat announced Rs 2 lakh from his party funds for the girl.
Both stressed that the amounts would be transferred to the girl’s bank account that she will hold jointly with her parents till she turns 18.
Singh, Oraon and Bhagat stayed at the girl’s residence in Swang village from 11am to nearly 11.40am, speaking to her and her parents. Sukunda’s home is barely 20 metres away from the girl’s home.
The VIPs left the village after over an hour.
Speaking to The Telegraph the senior minister said: “For the next 10 years, the state will take care of the girl, including her free food and education. The district administration has been given directions in this regard.
“The DC and SP have been asked to facilitate speedy trial of the guilty. The state will keep tabs on the girl to see if she is being rehabilitated.”
Calling the incident a shame for humanity, Singh also called for a change in social mindsets.
Oraon said her human resource department would ensure the girl would be admitted to Kasturba Gandhi residential school soon and get “every chance to study and realise her full potential”.
Bokaro DC Uma Shankar Singh said many reputable NGOs had shown interest in helping the girl.
Bokaro SP Jitendra Singh confirmed Sukunda was arrested in the afternoon. “All those who instigated this community-sanctioned rape will be caught and punished,” he said.