Minor’s gang rape: Soldier sent to custody, army assures cooperation

Kolkata, Dec 29 (IANS) A West Bengal court on Tuesday sent to police custody a soldier arrested for the gang rape of a teenaged girl inside a train, while the army assured assistance to police in nabbing two of its personnel alleged to have committed the crime.

The 14-year-old girl, hailing from Dum Dum in Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district, was allegedly raped by two army men after forcing her to drink alcohol inside a reserved military compartment of the Howrah-Amritsar Express.

The girl, who boarded the train from Howrah on her way to Ludhiana, was rescued in a joint effort by Railway Protection Force (RPF) and Government Railway Police (GRP) personnel at Madhupur station in Jharkhand on Monday.

While two of the alleged culprits managed to escape, the third personnel, accused to have forced the girl to drink, was arrested by the GRP and was handed over to the Howrah GRP which has now taken over the investigation.

Charged with several offences including under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, the arrested accused — identified as Manjrish Tripathi — was presented before a court in Howrah which sent him to police custody for four days.

The girl, who identified the accused in a video footage, also deposed before the magistrate.

The girl was rescued after the GRP received a complaint from her father that she fled home and boarded the train.

The army, which has initiated a probe in the matter, assured it would assist police in locating the accused soldiers.

“We have assured full cooperation to the Howrah GRP which is now investigating the case. We have also initiated a probe into the matter. We are assisting the investigators in identifying and tracking the two accused,” said an army source.

Meanwhile, the All India Democratic Students’ Organisation (AIDSO), a students’ organisation affiliated to the Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist), staged a demonstration in the city demanding capital punishment for the alleged rapists.

Staging the demonstrations outside Raj Bhavan here, some of AIDSO activists were arrested after they clashed with police.

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