Year after rape-murder of minor girl, Assam locals step up demand for justice

There has been no proper trial and the accused are out on bail, says Congress MLA

Locals in north-eastern Assam’s Biswanath district have stepped up the demand for justice for an 11-year-old girl who was allegedly raped and murdered almost a year ago.

Members of local units of organisations such as the All Assam Students’ Union and the Takam Mising Porin Kebang (TMPK) took to the streets of Gohpur town in the district on Thursday seeking proper trial and punishment of nine teenagers accused in the incident. Congress MLA from Mariani Rupjyoti Kurmi joined the protest.

The nine had allegedly invited the girl on February 28, 2020, for a dinner to celebrate the completion of their Class X board exams. Her body was found hanging from a tree near her house the next day.

The nine boys, some from the same village as the girl’s, were from economically richer families.

“The police filed a charge-sheet against the accused within the 90 days prescribed by a section of the Code of Criminal Procedure. They arrested them reluctantly, that too after the main accused was caught by the local people. But there has been no proper trial and the accused are out on bail,” Mr. Kurmi said after handing over a memorandum to Gohpur’s sub-divisional officer.

TMPK leader Madan Kutum said members of the girl’s family have been requesting the State government to appoint a special public prosecutor to fight the case. The case registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act, 2012, is in the district and sessions court.

“The boys are roaming free while the girl’s family awaits justice. The government should at least keep them away from the public until they are tried so that the local people, especially the young girls in the area, do not live in fear,” Mr Kutum said.

According to Shyamjyoti Saikia, who has been running the #JusticeForGohpurGirl online campaign, said the girl’s family was being threatened and intimidated. “She was not just another girl who gets raped and killed. Justice for her will show the authorities care for girls and women,” she said.

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