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Pipli rape victim dies

After remaining in coma for over six months following rape and a bid to strangulate her, the Dalit girl of Pipli in Odisha's Puri district died at a hospital in Cuttack today.

"The girl, who was already in a very critical state, died following septicaemia and severe respiratory and cardiological complications," Dr BN Maharana, Emergency Officer of the SCB Medical College and Hospital, said.

Following intervention of Orissa High Court, the 19-year-old victim was moved to the hospital on January 11 from the Capital Hospital here where she had been admitted on January 9, 2012.

The crime branch police had filed four charge sheets against eight people, including a dismissed police inspector and three doctors before a court in Pipli.

While four persons have been arrested till date, the policeman and doctors have not been taken into custody.

The victim was in the central ICU of the SCB hospital where a team of multi-disciplinary super specialists attended on her.

The hospital had provided free treatment on the orders of the high court. The girl was in coma ever since she was raped and an attempt made on her life on November 28 last year.

The death of the girl came two days after Orissa High Court, which monitored the treatment of the victim, directed the state government to continue providing the best available treatment to the victim and gave liberty to the petitioner advocate Prabir Das, a social activist, to approach the court in case he felt any negligence in her treatment.

Taking note of the status report filed by the investigating police officer, the high court had wanted to know why the dismissed policeman and doctors were not arrested.

The investigating police officer had stated that since the offences invited simple imprisonment of less than one year, he did not arrest them on the basis of section 41 of CrPC.

The police, however, had kept the investigation open in case the victim emerged from coma. The rape had triggered a state-wide outcry and led to the ouster of Pipli MLA and the then Agriculture Minister Pradip Maharathy following allegations about his role in the episode, they said.

Police officials of Pipli were criticised for the manner in which the case was handled. Doctors of the Capital Hospital and SCB Medical College and Hospital had come under severe attack from different quarters for allegedly not providing immediate treatment to the girl, who had been discharged earlier.

Bowing to public outcry, the state government had ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident. With the high court and Orissa Human Rights Commission (OHRC) voicing concern over incident, the opposition Congress and BJP had demanded a CBI probe into the incident. 

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