Bhubaneswar: There has been a disconcerting rise in crime against teenage girls in Odisha over the last few days. While lives of these girls are at stake, no noticeable steps seem to have been taken to curb such atrocities.
Today, body of a minor girl was recovered by police from a cashew orchard near Gadaharishpur village under Erasama block of Jagatsinghpur district. As per sources, the minor had gone to the forest on Tuesday night to attend nature’s call when she was allegedly dragged by a miscreant into the bushes, raped and then murdered.
Similarly, another minor girl was allegedly gang raped, tortured and kept hidden by four persons in a forest near Nilagiri in Balasore district. The shocking incident was reported on Tuesday from Putibandha village under Barhampur police limits of the district.
Not only these two incidents but also the alleged rape of a minor girl in Kujang of Jagatsinghpur district on March 17 and the suicide of a rape victim in Salepur of Cuttack district on March 13 are examples of such crimes prevalent in the State.
"We can only think about a society when police takes immediate cognizance of crime against women and the survivors are able to get justice promptly," said social activist, Namrata Chadha.
Of late there has been quite an increase in such cases. Earlier on March 8, a minor girl was allegedly molested in a dhaba at Barkot of Deogarh district. Allegations of gang rape of a minor in Nilagiri of Balasore and impregnation of a physically-challenged minor girl in Katakhandi slum under Bonai police limits of Sundergarh district had also been reported on the same day. While two to three such cases are reported every day, there are many that go unnoticed.
The opposition has held Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik responsible for the rise in such crimes as he heads the Home Department. On the other hand, BJD has claimed that the women is State are completely safe.
"Crime against women such as rape, torture and trafficking has increased a lot. Police, State government and especially the Chief Minister is responsible as he is in-charge of the Home Department," said BJP's Brajarajnagar MLA, Radharani Panda.
"Women are increasingly harassed, raped and killed for dowry. The Chief Minister is completely responsible for it," said Congress leader Tara Prasad Bahinipati.
"The government has taken many steps for protection of women starting from setting up of Mahila police stations. The probe of cases is conducted on fast track basis. There is a provision of single window for such cases where judgement is pronounced immediately and punishment is also awarded," said BJD spokesperson and Sambalpur MLA Raseswari Panigrahi.
As per sources, an important aspect of the current string of crimes against teenage girls is that a close family friend or relative is the accused in most cases.
There has also been a disturbing trend of videos of such atrocities being made viral on social media. An accused is either circulating the video after having physical relationship with the girl or is violating her dignity on false promise of marriage.