Odisha gangrape: One suspect arrested

After a public outcry, the Odisha government Tuesday asked police to probe the alleged gangrape of a woman in Puri district nearly a month and a half ago. A criminal case was registered against four people and one of them was arrested.

The action came a day after the state human rights commission took suo motu cognizance of the matter and directed police to register a case and submit an action taken report within three days.

On a public interest petition, the Orissa High Court Tuesday sought a report on the matter from the district police chief and asked him to submit it within a week.

The crime branch of police has taken over the case. A team has already been sent to the site for investigation, state police chief M.M. Praharaj told reporters.

The 19-year-old woman was allegedly gangraped Nov 28 last year by some people near her Arjunagoda village, about 10 km from Bhubaneswar. Her family alleged the accused were the same people who had assaulted her in 2008 and against whom she had put up a determined fight in court.

The woman slipped into coma after the assault and is currently admitted to a hospital in Bhubaneswar.

"Police have registered a criminal case against four peole. Besides, we are taking steps for the medical examination of the victim," police inspector Amulya Chamaptiray told IANS Tuesday.

The woman's family members alleged that she was first assaulted by the same group of men in January 2008 a few days after she allegedly protested the molestation of her friend by them. Unable to bear the trauma, her friend had then committed suicide.

However, the woman survived the assault and was determined to fight the case in court to punish the culprits. The criminals had also allegedly attacked her house Feb 18 the same year after she became a court witness in the molestation case.

Based on her statements, police had arrested two of the accused that year.

The family believes that the same group of people, who were roaming around after coming out on bail, committed the latest crime to avenge their arrest in the molestation case.

They accused police of inaction despite repeated complaints.

Chamaptiray said police had not received any specific complaints against the suspects. He said the investigation was on to find out if the latest crime had anything to do with the 2008 incidents.

He said police had already registered a criminal case against four people and arrested one of them Tuesday.

The government announced that it will bear all the treatment cost of the victim.

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