Bengal: Police say prime accused arrested in rape of minor as violent protests rock


Raiganj: A 20-year-old man was arrested on Saturday in connection with the alleged rape and murder of a teenage girl in West Bengal’s North Dinajpur district that triggered violent protests, police said.

The 17-year-old girl, whose body was found in a canal in Kaliaganj police station area on Friday, knew the man, Superintendent of Police (SP) Md Sana Akhtar said, identifying him as the prime accused.

A case has been filed under IPC section 302 (murder) and relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act based on the complaint filed by the girl’s mother, he said.

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The preliminary post-mortem report revealed no injury to the body, Akhtar said, adding that a bottle of poison was found near the body.

“We are investigating the case from all angles,” he said.

Violence rocked Kaliaganj, around 18 km from the Bangladesh border, as locals protested against the incident, prompting the police to use tear gas shells and charge batons to bring the situation under control, officials said.

Several shops and e-rickshaws were set on fire by the mob, which demanded the arrest of those behind the incident. Roads were also blocked and stones were hurled at the police, they said.

The RSS-backed ABVP gheraoed the Kaliaganj police station, while BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar sat on a dharna outside the SP office in Raiganj, demanding justice for the victim’s family.

Rapid Action Force (RAF) was deployed to bring the situation under control, police said, adding that a few protestors were also detained.

Three persons were injured in the police action and admitted to the Raiganj Government Medical College and Hospital, officials said.

Majumdar, who visited the victim’s village along with local BJP MP Debasree Chaudhuri, demanded a CBI investigation into the incident.

“We think the real truth will be revealed only if a CBI inquiry is conducted in this case,” he told reporters.

State Minister for Women and Child Development and Social Welfare, Dr Shashi Panja hit out at the BJP leadership, particularly Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, for identifying the minor in his tweets.

She alleged that the saffron party leaders were trying to instigate the people by misleading them.

“The BJP is trying to play dirty politics. That the Leader of Opposition (LoP) has divulged the identity of the victim girl through his tweets is itself a crime. How can he do that? They are playing dead body politics (sic),” Panja said.

The minister further said the post-mortem report would clear whether the girl was raped and killed or whether she died by suicide by consuming poison.

“At the moment, police are trying to bring the law and order under control. We must think about the mental condition of the family. Culprits will definitely be brought to the book,” Panja said.

The National Commission for Women (NCW) also sent a team to the area, and sought a report from the state police within three days.

The girl went missing on Thursday evening after she left home for going to her tuition classes. Her body was found the next day floating in a canal amid hectic searches by her family and locals.

Protests had started on Friday afternoon but quietened down by the day-end, only to restart on Saturday.

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( With inputs from )

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