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Week After Gangrape of 5 NGO Activists, Police Yet to Reach Crime Scene Over Fear of Pathargarhi Backlash

The area where the women were raped is considered a stronghold of Maoists, its splinter group PLFI and Pathargarhi supporters who recently had held a police party hostage for two days.

Arvind Kumar Singh | News18

Updated:June 25, 2018, 11:20 PM IST
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Week After Gangrape of 5 NGO Activists, Police Yet to Reach Crime Scene Over Fear of Pathargarhi Backlash
The alleged mastermind of the heinous crime, Junas Kido, held a Gram Sabha on Sunday. (Photo: News18)
Ranchi: The Jharkhand Police with help of CRPF jawans on Monday finally started moving towards Kochang Village in Khunti district, where five women activists of an NGO were gang-raped on Tuesday while performing a street play to educate locals about trafficking of tribal girls.

Even after six days after the incident, no police team could reach the crime spot and start investigating the case as they were apprehensive about the reaction from the local tribal population. The area is considered a stronghold of Maoists, its splinter group PLFI and Pathargarhi supporters who recently had held a police party hostage for two days.

Additional Director General (ADG) RK Mallick informed that three teams have now been formed to arrest the accused. The ADG said the women were assaulted under a conspiracy hatched out of vengeance by John Jonash Tidu and ruled out that the perpetrators were moved by strong sexual lust.

If the forces enter through Beerbanki under Adki police station, they will have to cross the villages of the main accused - John Junas Kido and Balram Tidu - who are considered the top leaders of Pathargarhi movement in Jharkhand.

Pathargarhi, a self-rule movement, has gained momentum recently in many districts where they put up stone plaques of 15x4 foot to describe rules and regulations of the Gram Sabha.

Jharkhand top cop DK Pandey had held a high-level meeting of police officers in Khunti, around 90 kilometers from capital Ranchi, on Sunday to decide on the strategy to zero in on the suspects. He returned to Ranchi after discussing the incidents. He assured that all the culprits would be arrested soon.

dkpandey
Jharkhand top cop DK Pandey held a meeting on Sunday to decide the strategy to zero in on the suspects.

At the same time as the police meet, the alleged mastermind of the heinous crime, Junas Kido, was also holding a meeting of Gram Sabha in the Kochang village.

Pathargarhi movement leader Balram Samad said that the meeting had nothing to do with formulating a strategy to stop police entry into the village. When asked about the purpose of the Gram Sabha, he said it was called to discuss the rape case.

He denied the involvement of anyone from the movement in the crime and said that police are trying to frame Junas Kido. He insisted that they too favour a fair probe and will assist the police in the investigation. “We are also trying to nab the accused. We are in support of hanging the culprits,” Samad said.

Girls forced to drink urine of rapists

The two who have been arrested so far - Ajub Sandi and Ashish Longo - have confessed to their involvement in the crime, police said. ADG Mallick told the media that the two accused said that after gang-raping the five women, they forced the victims to drink their urine.

“Both Sandi and Longo are believed to be members of PLFI and they support Pathargarhi movement. Rape survivors have identified them as well”, the ADG said.

As part of an NGO, an 11-member team had reached Kochang village on June19 to perform a street play on migration and human trafficking. The perpetrators abducted the five women and took them to a secluded place where they took turn to rape them.

After about two hours, they came back to RC Mission School and informed Christian preacher Father Alfanso about the incident. However, he advised them not to disclose it with anyone.

The police have also arrested him for trying to cover up the crime.

A team formed by the National Commission for Women also visited Khunti and demanded strict action. However opposition JMM and some Christian organisations have slammed the police for arresting Father Alfanso.

The JMM workers also staged protest in front of Deputy Commissioner's office against Alfanso's arrest and failure of police to reach to the crime spot.

(With inputs from Alok Kumar)

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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