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Held for raping niece

- Grandmother chances upon accused at crime scene

Imphal, Aug. 18: A 45-year-old married man was arrested for allegedly raping his five-year-old niece in Manipur’s Bishnupur district on Independence Day.

The incident triggered an alarm among parents at Thinungei, a peaceful rural neighbourhood in the district.

The accused, identified as Angom Sanathoi, allegedly raped the minor at a bamboo grove in the backyard of a house near the girl’s house around 10am on August 15 after luring her with sweets.

The grandmother of the girl came upon the two when she was visiting the house to collect water hyacinth to feed her poultry from a pond near the bamboo grove, the scene of the crime.

“When I went to the pond I saw my granddaughter running out of the bamboo grove crying. She was without clothes and blood was on her body. I realised what had happened. The attacker fled,” the grandmother said today.

The girl narrated the incident to her mother and the local residents caught the accused after the girl identified him. The accused is married with four children.

The local residents thrashed the accused who was rescued by a police team which arrived at the scene.

“We have arrested the accused on the day of the incident and he is now in police custody,” a police officer at Bishnupur police station said. The police also said the girl was medically examined at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences here.

The local residents formed a joint action committee the next day to mount pressure on the government to ensure that the accused gets maximum punishment.

“He is a beast, who does not have a place in society. He should be given maximum punishment of either life imprisonment or capital punishment so that such beastly acts do not recur,” Y. Maheswari Devi, a local meira paibi (woman activist) leader demanded.

“My daughter is so young. The villagers are afraid that the young girls in the area may meet the fate of my daughter. The culprit should not be spared, as he deserves the severest punishment to prevent others from committing such heinous crimes,” the mother of the victim said. To set an example, the local residents dismantled the house of the accused and announced that his family would not be allowed to stay in the Thinungei area.

After the police arrested Sanathoi, his wife and children fled from their house and are reported to be staying with relatives.