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Last updated Monday June 09, 2014

ODISHA GANA SAMAJ, PIPILI GANG RAPE CASE  

Odisha sees protests since death of Pipili rape victim

 

"The death of alleged gang rape victim, Babina Behera of Pipili in Odisha has given a new turn to the movement for protection of the rights and dignity of her family. After the death, the civil society bodies and opposition political parties in Odisha have demanded immediate arrest of persons linked with case under charges of murder."

 
Basudev Mahapatra  

Photograph of Babina Behera: posted by Prasanta Patnaik of Odisha Gana Samaja on his facebook wall

 

With the death of Babina Behera, victim of the much debated case of gang rape in Odisha's Pipili, on Thursday, June 21, 2012, the state capital witnessed series of protest rallies by opposition political parties and civil society organisations. With this, political warmth shot up in Odisha when atmospheric temperature has come down considerably with advent of monsoon.

Protest demonstrations started the same evening as the dead body of Babina was not allowed to enter into the central areas of the capital city of Bhubaneswar where over hundreds of sympathisers and civil society members waited to pay their last homage. The protestors led by civil society organisation 'Odisha Gana Samaj' condemned the apathetic attitude of the government toward the victim and her family in the particular case.

 

Citing that the case of attempt to murder the rape victim has become a case of murder after the death of Babina Behera, both the convenors of Odisha Gana Samaj Rabi Dash and Prasanta Patnaik demanded arrest of all persons connected with the case while demanding CBI probe into the case. 'People who have been accused and charge-sheeted in the case should be now charge-sheeted under Article 302 (of Indian Penal Code) and they should be arrested including the Police Inspector who has been suspended (and dismissed later on). That the SC Commission has recommended, the High Court has given direction; but the police is not doing', said Ravi Dash of Odisha Gana Samaj. Activists from different left parties also joined this protest demonstration.

Opposition political parties like the Congress and BJP also came on roads demanding arrest of accused persons under article 302 of IPC and CBI probe of the Pipili gang rape case that has been a nationwide concern since many months.

While holding a rally demanding that the political leaders linked with this case must also be brought to task, the National Secretary of BJP's Women's wing Surama Padhi said that, 'only a CBI inquiry can open all the misdeeds in the case'.

Putting the government at fault for all misdeeds in the case, former Minister and National Law Board Member Narasingha Mishra said, 'the state Crime Branch is protecting the criminals as they happen to be senior leaders of the ruling BJD party. Doctors examining after three months is not likely to find any symptom of rape. Had the case been registered immediately and doctor examined the victim at the moment, certainly there would have been ample evidence against the culprits. Even, available evidence that is stains found on the wearing cloths of the victim has not been chemically examined. Had that been examined also, evidence of rape would have been found. Therefore we demand that CBI investigation should be made and the culprits are taken to task'.

When the opposition political parties condemned the government for its inaction in ensuring justice to the victim and her family, Odisha Gana Samaj held an emergency meeting on June 22, 2012 and decided to carry on the movement across the state. As decided in the meeting, the civil society organisation observed June 28, 2012 as Black Day and submitted a memorandum to the Governor of Odisha to intervene in the case.

On the other hand, while taking the body of Babina for cremation, the family members of the victim left the body alone and disappeared on the way to their village. It is believed that the members of the family did so because they were not given the freedom to take the body at their wish but were dictated what to do by the police. While the father of the victim expressed his fear in the hospital campus saying that they would be mercilessly harassed or, even, killed in their village as some people had threatened so, the police wanted the family members to take the body to their village for cremation. May be because of this, the father and other family members deserted the body just to avoid going to there village Arjungoda.

As the family members deserted the body, it was kept in the mortuary chamber of Puri district medical for about two days and cremated on June 23, 2012 at Swargadwar in Puri in presence of Babina's surviving family members. However, the state government has not yet initiated any strong action to ensure security to the victim's family in its own village.

 

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