25-yr-old tribal ‘gangraped’, all 6 accused held

In yet another case of sexual assault in Orissa, six men allegedly gangraped a 25-year-old tribal woman who was attending to her ailing brother in a government hospital in the tribal-dominated Mayurbhanj district of the state Sunday night.

The victim from Betnoti area of Mayurbhanj had come to the district hospital at Baripada to attend to her brother, who was admitted following a road accident.

"Last evening, when she and her husband had gone for ablutions near the Sarali river just behind the hospital, two sweepers, Gopi Mukhi and Raghu Biswal, of the hospital accosted them. They made lewd remarks. When the husband protested, he was thrashed and held against a tree by the accused," said Baripada sadar police station inspector-in-charge Sudarshan Gangoi.

The husband, however, fled and went to get help for his wife. While he was away, the two sweepers called four of their friends to the spot and sexually assaulted her.

The victim walked back to the hospital and told about the incident.

The police have arrested all the accused. They have been identified as Kundan Mukhi, 25, Raghu Biswal, 19, Gopi Mukhi, 19, Balaram Mukhi, 19, Sibaram Ghadei, 20, and Chandan Mukhi, 20, of Baripada. All the six were identified by the woman and they were sent to local jail after the court rejected their bail plea. "All the six have been medically examined, but the reports are yet to come," the police said.

Apart from the two sweepers, one of the accused is an ambulance driver and another runs a betel shop near the hospital.

Protesting against the incident, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha staged a demonstration at the district collectorate and demanded Rs 50 lakh compensation to the victim and trial of the case in first-track court. The police said they would submit the chargesheet in 15 days.

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