Tardy rape probe rued

Kokrajhar, May 3 : Rights activists and women’s organisations of the state have expressed dissatisfaction over the Kokrajhar district administration’s approach towards the April 20 gangrape of a married woman, allegedly by a group of six army personnel, and demanded a judicial inquiry into the matter.

The vice-president of the Sadou Asom Pragatishil Nari Sanstha, Junu Bora, told reporters here yesterday that the administration was yet to investigate the incident thoroughly. “Why is there no arrest till now? The victim can identify the culprits. The guilty jawans should be arrested immediately,” she said. “The army is here to maintain law and order. But it is sad to see them commit such gruesome acts. The army should not try to shield their men and cooperate in identifying the guilty jawans,” she added.

Mita Rani Bhattacharya, state programme director of Assam Mahila Samata Society, said, “The case should not be taken lightly and the administration should act promptly to arrest the guilty.”

Bondita Acharya of Women in Governance Assam said, “A magisterial inquiry is not enough for such cases. We demand a judicial inquiry into the incident.”

Kokrajhar deputy commissioner Donald Gilfellon had ordered a magisterial inquiry seven days after the incident, under pressure from various organisations and groups.

Demanding safety and security of the victim, the women’s groups also said since the victim and her family were being pressurised to withdraw the case, the administration should ensure that they were not harassed.

Different women organisations and women rights activists from the state, including All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch, Assam Mahila Samata Society, Nari Mukti Sangram Samiti and People’s Rights Forum, have expressed solidarity towards the victim and to also decided to move the National Human Rights Commission.

“We will move the commission to ensure that the victim gets justice,” Junu Bora said.

Manek Goyary was gang raped on April 20 inside her house in Tharaibari under Kokrajhar police station, allegedly by a group of six army jawans of the 15 Dogra Regiment stationed in Adabari, in absence of her husband.

According to the victim, six jawans in civvies forcefully entered her house around 7.30pm and with four jawans holding her down, two raped her.

The army, however, had denied the charges.