8-month pregnant woman gang-raped, Maharashtra women’s panel seeks report

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Mumbai/Sangli, Aug 2 (IANS) An eight-month pregnant woman from Satara was allegedly gang-raped by eight men in Sangli, following which Maharashtra’s women’s panel on Thursday took a serious note amid widespread condemnation and sought a report from police, an official said.

The crime occurred around 6 a.m. on Tuesday when the 20-year-old woman, along with her hotelier husband, had gone to Turchi Phata in Tasgaon.

An official of Tasgaon police station told IANS that both were looking to hire a couple for their hotel business.

One of the accused, Mukund Mane, had earlier called the hotelier to Turchi Phata, claiming a couple was ready to work for them and asked him to bring Rs 20,000 as advance payment.

When they reached the spot, Mane and his accomplices pounced on the hotelier couple, assaulted them with pipes and sticks, robbed them of cash and woman’s gold ornaments.

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Then they tied the husband, gagged and locked him inside his vehicle and allegedly gang-raped the woman even as she pleaded with them to let her go due to her condition.

The attackers even threatened the couple against informing police, claiming that “they were very influential and nobody will listen to the couple”.

Later, the couple registered a complaint at Tasgaon police station, with the woman naming four accused as Mane, Sagar, Javed Khan and Vinod in the FIR.

Nearly 48 hours after the incident, police was yet to make arrests but said that teams are out to trace them.

Maharashtra State Commission for Women Chairperson Vijaya Rahatkar wrote to the Sangli Superintendent of Police to personally look into the case and submit a detailed report on the case status.

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Opposition Nationalist Congress Party leader Chitra Wagh termed the crime as “a blot on humanity” and demanded to know from Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis as to when such heinous crimes against women in the state would be curbed.

Ruling ally Shiv Sena’s senior leader Neelam Gorhe also strongly condemned the crime and urged Fadnavis to direct officials concerned to arrest the culprits and punish them.

She said that the woman and her family were under pressure to withdraw the police complaint, and appealed to police to transfer the case from Sangli to Satara district to ensure impartial investigation.

Gorhe urged the media also to exercise restraint and not disclose the woman’s village and sub-district in view of sensitivities involved.

–IANS

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