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Top cops pay for Bangalore rape spurt

Bangalore, July 21: Bangalore’s top two police officers in charge of law and order were shunted out today as three high-profile rapes piled heat on the state government in the Assembly and on the streets.

Government sources said police commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar and Kamal Pant, inspector-general and additional commissioner (law and order), had paid for the tardy probes into the rapes scorching the government for the past 10 days.

Officers described Auradkar, who had headed the city police since June 13, as a “stern and upright officer” and many of them expressed surprise at his sudden transfer.

Especially so because he had only yesterday announced the arrest of the prime accused in the rape that had perhaps caused the most revulsion in Bangalore: an assault on a six-year-old girl at her school, allegedly by a skating instructor.

But even that arrest came all of six days after the attack was reported.

While the police have arrested four of the five accused in the rape of a 22-year-old college girl in a moving car, they are still clueless about the gang rape of a 16-year-old studying to be a nun at a Catholic seminary.

All these cases were reported in the span of five days starting July 11, when the college student was kidnapped and raped in a car in the Frazer Town locality. These incidents have triggered protests by thousands across the city.

Additional director-general of police (law and order) M.N. Reddy has replaced Auradkar as commissioner. Auradkar will take over as additional director-general in charge of the state reserve police.

Pant has switched places with Alok Kumar, inspector-general (grievances and human rights).

There had been an earlier move to shift Auradkar after additional director-general P. Ravindranath was allegedly caught clicking “inappropriate” pictures of a young woman at a cafeteria in late May, a government source said.

Although the commissioner survived then, his number was up when the spurt in rapes mounted pressure on the Congress government to be seen as acting fast and sending a strong signal.

Chief minister P.C. Siddaramaiah today told the Assembly that the number of fast-track courts to try sexual harassment cases would be doubled to 20.

He said the stringent Goonda Act would be invoked against all habitual offenders in sexual harassment cases including Mustafa, the 31-year-old skating instructor who is said to have a history of such crimes.

Siddaramaiah added that the act, now meant only for repeat offenders, would be amended so that it can be applied also to first-time offenders in rape cases.

At a stormy morning session in the Assembly, where the government came under fire, home minister K.J. George announced plans to provide each district with a women-only police station.

Representatives of parents whose children are enrolled in Vibgyor School — where the six-year-old was raped — met the state minister for primary and secondary education, Kimmane Ratnakar. They urged him to punish school managements that fail to provide foolproof security to their students.

Suspect Mustafa, a native of Darbhanga in Bihar, has been remanded in police custody.

A skating instructor drawing a monthly salary of Rs 18,000, Mustafa had earlier been sacked by another city school in 2011, allegedly for a similar offence that went unreported.

Investigators are trying to dig out the history of Mustafa’s earlier tenure and are probing leads that he is a child porn addict, sources said.

A laptop and a mobile handset seized from him contained video and images of child sex, police had claimed yesterday.