Ghatshila, Aug. 17: As the sun dropped off the horizon over the Subarnarekha, the young woman lingered. Darkness was spreading out across the evening sky and she sat on the riverbank, watching.
A small boat drifted towards her at Sarpura, known for its spectacular view of the sunset. Four youths got off the boat and walked up to her. Forming a ring around her, they circled. One of the four took her by the hand and dragged her to a place some distance away. They then raped her, one after the other.
Only a few hours ago, on a Saturday afternoon, the 24-year-old woman had arrived from Calcutta by the Kurla Express, where the graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology had been living for the past two years and was shortly to return to her parents in the US.
Three of the four accused — all arrested by police after the girl filed an FIR — are in their late teens. One is only 14. All have confessed to their guilt.
The victim, associated with an organisation that works for women’s empowerment, was taken to MGM Medical College Hospital in Jamshedpur for a medical examination this morning. But this could not be carried out.
“Being a Sunday, the doctors are not available. We have done whatever tests we could but she would have to get admitted to the hospital to complete the tests,” a doctor said.
She declined to stay on and left for Calcutta in the evening.
“Haven’t I gone through enough' The medical examinations should have been done at Ghatshila itself but they drove me all the way here and now they want me to get admitted. What would be the point in doing the tests tomorrow' Everywhere in the world rape victims are to be checked within 24 hours of the incident. I am going home,” she said.
An angry relative shooed away a constable who was urging them to stay back. “We have been trying to call the doctors but none was available. The tests were done by an intern. What kind of a hospital is this' Is there nothing called an emergency service' There is nothing that can stop us now. We would take the first train to Calcutta and leave,” she said.
After what she had suffered, the victim was movingly sympathetic towards the accused. So was her relative.
“They are barely teenagers. We are not vindictive towards them. But it is society which is to be blamed for having nurtured such children. What else can one expect with all dhabas on the highway showing x-rated movies'” the relative said.
A defensive Ghatshila deputy superintendent of police Shailendra Kumar Sinha said: “This is not the tourist season. Therefore, there was no reason for beefing up security.”
Touted as one of the most scenic spots of Jharkhand, this is the third incident of its kind involving a tourist here. In 2001, a non-resident Indian girl escaped a rape attempt in a hotel. Although the girl did not lodge a complaint, police sources confirmed the incident.
In another case, a tourist from Calcutta was molested at the Burudih dam site last year. That incident, too, went unreported.