Protests over minor’s ‘gangrape’, murder turn violent in Bengal’s Chopra town

At least three buses and a few police vehicles were set on fire, and the violence lasted several hours

Police personnel tried to bring the situation under control for two hours, but were met with resistance, resulting in the use of tear gas and lathi-charge. Photo: Screengrab

A protest by locals at West Bengal’s Chopra town in North Dinajpur district over the alleged gangrape and murder of a student turned violent on Sunday (July 19), with protesters blocking National Highway 31 and even attacking police personnel with bows and arrows at one point.

The violence had been going on since 2 pm and lasted several hours. At least three buses and a few police vehicles were set on fire. Police personnel tried to bring the situation under control for two hours, but were met with resistance, resulting in the use of tear gas and lathi-charge.

The crowd appeared to have been dispersed around 5 pm. However, the protesters had allegedly moved on to another arterial road after that and attacked the police officers with bows and arrows.

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Local police said the situation was now under control and that an investigation has been launched into the girl’s death, according to NDTV.

Media reports quoted the girl’s sister as saying that the girl, who had recently passed the Class 10 board exams, went missing on Saturday (July 18) night, and was later found dead under a tree.

Locals in the area alleged that she had been gangraped and murdered.

Furthermore, two bicycles and a few mobile phones were found at the scene and handed over to the police.

Protests broke out soon after the girl’s body was found.

COVID-19 patient held for sexual assault in Maharashtra quarantine centre

Meanwhile, a 25-year-old man was arrested on Saturday (July 18) for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman in a quarantine centre in Panvel in neighbouring Navi Mumbai, police said.

The man had entered the room of the 40-year-old victim on Thursday afternoon and sexually assaulted her, after which she lodged a complaint with police later in the evening, an official said.

“The accused, charged with rape under section 376 and 354 of IPC, was not arrested at the time since his coronavirus report was awaited. It has now arrived and he has tested positive. He has been placed under arrest and has been kept at the same centre,” the official informed.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Women and Child Welfare Minister Yashomati Thakur on Saturday said she had written to state home minister Anil Deshmukh to ensure the accused gets strict punishment.

“I am personally looking into the matter with the state womens commission,” Thakur said.

Haryana girl, set ablaze by man accused of raping her, succumbs to burn injuries

In yet another incident, a 15-year-old girl, who was allegedly set afire by a man accused of raping her and his accomplice, succumbed to burn injuries at a hospital in Haryana, police said on Saturday.

According to the girl’s family, the duo set her ablaze in the early hours of Thursday while she was sleeping at her house.

On July 14, family members of the minor had lodged a police complaint in which they alleged that the 22-year-old man living in the neighbourhood raped her and made a video of the act, a police official said. The family had also alleged that the man used the video to blackmail the 15-year-old girl, he said.

“The girl died on Friday at PGIMS at Rohtak due to the burn injuries,” Bhiwani Sadar Police Station’s SHO Shri Bhagwan said over the phone.

The father of the main accused had committed suicide after the girl’s family had lodged a police complaint, he said. The SHO said a few members of the girl’s family were booked for abetting the suicide.

The main accused was arrested on Thursday evening and remanded to police custody, the police official said. He has been booked for rape and murder, the SHO said, adding that further invesigation is underway.

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