Normal life was disrupted across Odisha’s Koraput district today due to a shutdown called by the Congress demanding the arrest of those involved in the gangrape of a minor girl near Kunduli recently.
Shops, business establishments, schools, colleges and offices remained closed during the 7-hour bandh from 6 am to 1 pm called by the district unit of Congress, which alleged tardy progress into the probe in the gangrape of the Class IX girl student on October 10. The vehicular movement also came to a grinding halt in the district as passenger buses, trucks and other vehicles stayed off the roads.
The shutdown remained peaceful and no untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the district, police said. Alleging inaction on the part of police, Congress Chief Whip in the assembly and local MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati said seven days have elapsed since the incident took place but the state government is still silent despite state-wide public outcry.
Police is still clueless and no arrest has been made so far in connection with the case, he said and claimed that the state government has failed to take concrete and sincere steps to ensure speedy investigation into the case. Demanding immediate arrest of the culprits, Bahinipati said a compensation of Rs 50 lakh should also be given to the survivor and the state government should bear all expenses for the girl’s studies.
Congress leaders further threatened that the agitation would be intensified and spread to other areas of the state if the demands are not met immediately. On the other hand, the Maoists, who are active in the tribal-dominated region, had also called for a Koraput bandh today protesting against the incident. Besides condemning the gangrape, they have denied involvement in the crime.
The Maoists’ denial was in response to the suspicion of the police that the ultras in combat uniform might have raped the girl. The CRPF, the BSF and local police engaged in anti-Maoist operations in the area have already denied the involvement of their personnel in the rape.
The survivor, in a statement to the police, has claimed that she was gagged and raped by four men in combat uniform.