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Gang rape slur on rail hawkers

Malda, Aug. 5: Three railway hawkers were arrested by Malda district police today for allegedly gang raping a 17-year-old girl after taking her to the railway stadium here last night.

According to a police source, Government Railway Police (GRP) personnel found the girl crying on the steps near the station around 8am today.

When the GRP men asked her why she was crying, she narrated the incident. According to a police source, since the alleged gang rape had taken place outside the jurisdiction of the GRP, the girl was handed over to the Malda district police.

She was then admitted to the Malda Medical College and hospital.

The police recorded her statement and arrested Munna Das, 19, Suman Sheikh, 22, and Sanwar Sheikh, 24. All of them are residents of Gayespur in Malda.

The trio sell food, magazines, tea and snacks and also touts, dealing in railway ticket booking at the station.

Krishnagopal Das, the inspector-in-charge of the Malda GRP, who had interrogated the girl, said she had run away from her home in Murshidabad district.

“She had a quarrel with her parents on Monday and boarded a train and got down at Malda station, where she met Munna Das. He assured her of providing her with a place to stay. After that he and the others took her inside the stadium and took turns in raping her,” he said.

A senior police officer from Malda said the girl had mentioned Munna Das’ name while making her statement.

“We raided the station around 10am and arrested Munna Das. He in turn admitted to the crime and mentioned the names of four others. We have arrested two of them and are looking for the other two,” he said.

The senior police officer said the five youths had allegedly gang raped the girl by threatening her with a knife. “In her statement, the girl has said Munna and the others held a knife at her and took turns in raping her.”

Prasun Banerjee, the Malda police superintendent, said: “The police are investigating the case. We will also ask the Murshidabad police to contact her parents there,” he said.