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Teenager Allegedly Raped in Stationary Bus in Puri Demands Exemplary Punishment for Accused

Author: Astha Srivastava, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi

A Senior Police officer said a charge sheet will be presented in court in the next three days and the trial will be fast-tracked. The District Police will ask the State Government to appoint a special Public Prosecutor for this case, he added.

Is it the world which we are giving to our new generations? …Full of fear…Rapes and gang rapes…of women, girl and child…

Women in India are not safe anywhere, be it workplace, home or on the streets. They are being attacked as like objects by their known as well as unknowns. We come across at least 10 news (small and big) everyday in newspapers that a child/women/girl has been raped somewhere across the country. This is happening despite the big incident of a 23-year old student who was gang raped brutally in a moving bus in Delhi took a harsh turn. Even still, the law system in India is shockingly apathetic towards the victims that everyday someone new becomes prey of Rape. In the recent incident a 16-year old tribal girl was raped inside a stationary bus in the temple town Puri of Odisha.

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The survivor of rape, who works at a water park in Malatipur area in Puri, recalling the incident, said she had boarded the private bus at Rasulgarh in Bhubaneswar on Monday midnight. On reaching Puri late in the evening, bus conductor Narayan Mallick asked her to sleep in the same bus and leave for workplace in the morning. The girl agreed. Around midnight when the girl was into deep sleep, the conductor overpowered and raped her. Local shopkeepers around there informed the local Police, after they saw the survivor crying at the spot.

The Police took the survivor to the police station and had arrested the conductor within 30 minutes, while he was trying to flee. Both the survivor and the accused had been sent for a medical examination. The Conductor has denied of all the charges against him, after his bail plea has been rejected.

The Conductor claimed that the girl was not in the bus as she had deboarded the vehicle at around 8 pm after it reached Puri. Only her bag had been in the bus. However, he admitted to the fact that he had met the girl 4 days back.

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Puri Superintendent of Police Uma Shankar Dash said, “The accused knew the girl for some time. This is why she agreed to sleep in the bus at night instead of going to her workplace immediately after the bus reached Puri. More details will emerge after the probe is completed”.

He further added that “The accused has been arrested and a case has been filed under Section 376 of the IPC rape and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences(POSCO)Act,2012”,and “Charge sheet will be presented in Court in the next 3 days and the trial will be fast-tracked. The District Police will ask the State Government to appoint a Special Public Prosecutor for this case”.

Eventhough, A rape is a brutal and heinous crime. But sadly in India, it also becomes a political issue, with the dynamics of religion, caste and misogyny shaping the public debate over the problem.

In this case as well, Political parties are making the incident a subject of politics. The opposition party in the state is seeking reply from the ruling party BJD in the state. The BJP leader Lekhasree Samantasinghar while asking for a statement from the Naveen Patnaik led government on the matter said that, “The BJD has no moral right to speak on women empowerment when girls in Odisha are not safe”. The Congress legislator Suresh Routray demanded a judicial probe into the incident and asked, “We demand a judicial inquiry into the incident. How did it happen despite the presence of huge number of police personnel in the town for Rath Yatra?”

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A crime in future can only be prevented by making the punishments harsher for the criminals so that a rational criminal who weighs the benefits of a crime against its associated costs ,i.e.; the probability of being caught, the magnitude of punishment, and time taken for conviction would after calculation of the punishment think twice before committing such heinous crimes.

The minor girl in the case said that, “I want the government to make sure that this man gets exemplary punishment. I am an orphan girl, and I have faith in the government and the media”.

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