Odisha police beating around bush in Kunduli gang-rape case?

Bhubaneswar: Even after 14 days of the alleged gang-rape of a minor girl at a remote village in tribal-dominated Koraput district, Odisha police are yet to make any headway.

The investigators haven’t made any breakthrough even after grilling four suspects – two of them happen to be relatives of the victim.

While three of the four detained suspects were released, one’s release was delayed as he was subjected to lie-detection test at State Forensic Science Laboratory (SFSL) here last Wednesday.

Soon after his release, the suspect – Pupun Khora – told media that he was pressurised to admit the crime.

The district unit Congress had strongly opposed the police action as it termed that the cops had picked up innocent tribals and have failed to nab the real culprits.

To utter surprise, the victim too alleged that the cops are intimidating her to change her statement.

A video aired by regional news channels showed that the girl admitted to Saheed Laxman Nayak Medical College and Hospital (SLNMCH) in Koraput has been accusing a woman constable of pressurising her change her statement.

The woman cop is pressurising to change my statement. Hhad the case was in police station, they would have ferreted out the truth by beating me, the 15-year-old victim was heard saying in the tape.

Meanwhile, Pottangi police have issued a notice to Pupun Khora alias Kartik, Arjun Padal, Sonu Khemudu and Pratap Chati to appear at DIG (South-Western) S. Shyni’s office tomorrow by 11 AM and cooperate in the investigation in the case registered by OHRC. The cops have also asked Khora to appear before the DIG along with his parents.

The notice was issued two days after Khora was freed.

Though state DGP RP Sharma had asserted that investigation has made progress and cops have got positive leads, the tormentors are out of bounds of the police.

Earlier in the day, Human Rights Protection Cell (HRPC) SP Ashok Das reached Koraput to begin probe into the sensitive case where the victim had alleged that four men in uniform had gang raped her while she was returning from Kunduli market after obtaining passport sized photographs.

Sharma had told media earlier that involvement of security personnel or Maoists was not established.

Notably, the minor girl, hailing from Musaguda village, was allegedly raped by at least four men, stated to be in combat uniform, on October 10.

Opposition Congress today lashed out at the state government accusing it of shielding the accused.

“Though a fortnight has elapsed since the incident, police have failed to nab the accused as the BJD government is deliberately trying to shield the culprits,” Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) President Prasad Harichandan told reporters here.

In the name of counselling, women police personnel were constantly trying to put pressure on the girl at the hospital to retract from her statement in a bid to allow the culprits to go scot-free.

In protest against the tardy progress in investigation, Harichandan said the party would organise a sit-in demonstration near Raj Bhavan here on November 2 demanding arrest of culprits.

Anger over delay in apprehending the culprits has now spilled over to the streets. College students this evening took out a candlelight vigil at Master Canteen Square demanding arrest of the perpetrators.

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