Villagers help police nab Jharkhand ‘rapists’

Police say ninth accused is on the run

Written by Deepu Sebastian Edmond | Pakur | Published: July 17, 2013 1:22 am

Eight tribals have been arrested for Sunday’s abduction and gangrape of four minor girls in Jharkhand.

The men,all Santhals and residents of Jamjuri village in Litipara block of Pakur district,are between 18 and 28 years of age. Laudha,where the girls’ hostel is located,is a tola of Jamjuri village.

Police said a ninth accused,Prabhudhan Hansda,was on the run. “All the arrested men have confessed to raping the girls. They confessed not only before us,but before the villagers as well,” Pakur SP Y S Ramesh said.

Police held a series of meetings with elders of Jamjuri village who,after being assured that police would not use third-degree methods against the accused,persuaded the men to give themselves up.

Chief Minister Hemant Soren,who was sworn in only the day before the abduction-rape,had kept up the pressure on the administration,and had on Monday announced that the accused would be arrested within 48 hours.

The girls,reported to be between 12 and 15 years old,belong to the Sauria Paharia tribe,notified as a Primitive Tribal Group because of their economic backwardness and certain sociological traits. Three of the girls belong to Pakur; the fourth is from Sahibganj. The three older girls were doing a short-term course in tailoring; the youngest,12,was a student of class III. All four will undergo age-determination tests in Dumka district on Wednesday.

The children’s school has 147 students. About 125 children — 75 girls and 50 boys — were at the basic asbestos-sheet facility comprising three independent structures on Sunday night.

The alleged rapists have no criminal records. They were carrying knives and batons. Police will attempt a parade to give the girls a chance to identify the accused. “We will not be shifting the school,but we will be moving the tailoring training centre to Rajpokra in Godda,” Raja Singh of the Evangelical Church of India,which runs the school,said.

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