Teenager Allegedly Raped in Stationary Bus in Puri Demands Exemplary Punishment for Accused
A senior police officer said a chargesheet will be presented in court in the next three days and the trial will be fast-tracked. The district police will ask the state government to appoint a special public prosecutor for this case, he added.
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Bhubaneswar: A 16-year-old tribal girl raped inside an empty, stationary vehicle in Odisha’s temple town of Puri has demanded exemplary punishment for the bus conductor who committed the offence after allegedly winning her trust.
“I want the government to make sure that this man gets exemplary punishment. I am an orphan girl, and I have faith in the government and the media,” said the minor who belongs to a Scheduled Tribes community and hails from the northern district of Keonjhar.
Recalling her ordeal, the survivor, who works at a water park in Puri, said she had boarded the private bus at Rasulgarh in Bhubaneswar on Monday midnight. On reaching Puri late in the evening, bus conductor Narayan Mallick allegedly asked her to sleep in the vehicle for the night and leave for her workplace in the morning.
Around midnight when she was fast asleep, Mallick allegedly overpowered the girl and raped her. Several local shopkeepers at the bus stand, who saw the survivor there, then informed the local Kumbharapada police station. While the minor was taken to the police station, Mallick was arrested within 30 minutes as he attempted to flee.
“The accused knew the girl for some time. This is why she agreed to sleep in the bus at night instead of going to her workplace immediately after the bus reached Puri. More details will emerge after the probe is completed,” said Puri Superintendent of Police Uma Shankar Dash.
Dash said a chargesheet will be presented in court in the next three days and the trial will be fast-tracked. The district police will ask the state government to appoint a special public prosecutor for this case, he added.
Both the girl and the accused were sent for a medical examination. Mallick, who was sent to jail after his bail plea was rejected, has denied the charges. He claimed that the girl deboarded the vehicle after it reached Puri at around 8 pm and that only her bag had been in the bus. However, Mallick admitted to having met the girl four days ago.
The incident has sparked a political outcry in Odisha. The opposition BJP and the Congress accused the Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government of being callous towards women’s safety. They also questioned how authorities had failed to prevent the crime even though at least 10,000 police personnel were deployed in the town in view of the ongoing Rath Yatra.
“The entire state has been shamed because of this incident that took place in the holy town of Puri when the Rath Yatra festival is on. We demand a judicial probe into the incident and a fast-track trial,” said senior Congress leader and former minister Suresh Routray.
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