Julius Kitbok Dorphang, an Independent legislator of Meghalaya who supports the ruling party has gone into hiding after a court in Shillong issued a non-bailable warrant against him after he was booked for allegedly raping a 14-year old girl last month.
The legislator has been booked under several Sections of the IPC and the POCSO Act.
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While the victim had filed the FIR on December 16 accusing the MLA of sexually exploiting her in a guest house in the Meghalaya capital the previous evening, the non-bailable warrant was issued by a court in Shillong against him on Wednesday after two civil society groups whipped up a campaign against him as well as the government.
Dorphang represents the Mawhati constituency in the state assembly. The girl who was allegedly assaulted by the MLA was rescued from a guest house reportedly owned by a senior Meghalaya minister’s son, with the civil society groups complaining that the government was trying to protect the accused. The victim reportedly named at least eight persons in her FIR, among whom five persons have been already arrested.
“The court issued a non-bailable warrant after the MLA continued to evade arrest for quite a long time,” East Khasi Hills SP M Kharkhrang told The Indian Express. Efforts were on to trace and arrest him, the SP said.
Dorphang (51), who had joined politics and became an Independent MLA in 2013, had remained self-styled chairman of Hynniewtrep National Council (HNLC) from 1993 to 2007, an armed underground group that continues to exist, though on a low key. A father of two daughters, he has been charged under Section 366 (A) of the IPC read with Section 3 (a)/4 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act), as also under Section 5 of the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act (ITPA).
Expressing displeasure at the poor pace of investigation, Agnes Kharshiing, president of the Shillong-based Civil Society Women’s Organisation (CSWO) alleged that there was lot of pressure on the police until the warrant was issued. “There has been a lot of unnecessary pressure on the police, especially because Dorphang is a legislator who supports the ruling party,” she said.