| REMEMBRANCE: Students of Welland Gouldsmith School dedicated their daily prayer from 8 to 8.15 on Friday morning to ex-student Hetal Parekh. “We said a special prayer for her,” disclosed a school official. “We also prayed for Dhananjoy’s family and for the right decision to be taken in the case.” Picture by Amit Datta
If at Alipore jail the rapist and murderer of a 14-year-old waited for a final life-or-death verdict from Delhi on the day that he was to have been hanged, the threat that girls are under in various parts of the city came into brutal focus on Friday.
Three minor girls were raped on the city’s fringes in the past three days. The acts of brutality jostled for the city’s attention — along with the suspense over Dhananjoy Chatterjee’s fate — with three alleged rapists being produced in court on Friday and remanded in custody.
The crime chain was set off on Tuesday evening with the rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl at Panji, in North 24-Parganas’ Baduria.
Police said alleged rapist Tapas Biswas — picked up from the area early on Friday — accosted the girl, a neighbour, when she was returning from a rath mela.
Tapas took her into a nearby jute field, where he raped and then strangled the teenager.
If the Panji attack was carried out two days before Dhananjoy was to be hanged, the day his hanging was stayed by the President recorded the rape of two minors.
On Thursday morning, an eight-year-old girl was raped on Dr AK Road, in the Metiabruz area, by her neighbour, when her parents were away.
Later in the day, even as the city was agog with news of Dhananjoy being given a presidential breather, an 11-year-old was raped in Rabindra Nagar, near Behala, by her uncle.
At Metiabruz, the accused, 29-year-old Gabbar, also known as Mohammad Javed, visited the victim’s house when she was alone. When her parents returned home in the evening, she narrated the horror story.
Her father then went to Metiabruz police station with members of a local non-government organisation (NGO) and lodged a complaint against Gabbar.
“He was finally picked up from a hideout close to his house,” said district superintendent of police (South 24-Parganas) S.N. Gupta.
The girl has been admitted to a local nursing home.
Secretary of the NGO Md Amin Ansari said Gabbar was a dreaded criminal of the area.
“Earlier, he was arrested near a jute mill and jailed for some time. But after coming out of jail, he was again involved in cases of snatching, extortion and eve-teasing. We have urged the women’s commission and the police to pursue the matter and ensure that he never commits a crime again,” he added.
The brutality in Behala involved the rape of an 11-year-old girl, allegedly by uncle Manoj Roy, 45, when she was home alone.
Police said neighbours heard the girl scream and rushed in to find her lying bleeding. Roy was caught and handed over to officers of Rabindra Nagar police station.