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Family of Pipili victim agree to cremate body

Bhubaneswar: Ending controversy over Pipili rape victim`s cremation, her family members agreed for it today and went to Puri for the funeral of the dalit girl who died on Thursday after remaining in coma for over six months. "As per suggestions made by our community priest, we have decided to perform her last rites at Swargadwar in Puri," the girl`s father Babuli Behera said after a marathon meeting at the house of former MP Bhajaman Behera here.

It was agreed at the meeting that the family`s first duty was to cremate the body. "She was raped, an attempt was made to kill her and she fought for survival for over six months. Therefore, we decided to end the chapter by conducting cremation," Behera said. "The Puri district administration has been asked to do the needful," Chief Secretary B K Patnaik told reporters here after Governor M C Bhandare observed that the wishes of the victim`s parents must be respected.

Though the family agreed to cremate the body kept in a morgue at Puri, it demanded a CBI probe into the entire episode. "Let the body be cremated first, we will take up the matter at appropriate level," her father said. Behera said the arrest of Pipili MLA and former minister Pradeep Maharathy, was also very much on the list of demands. "Though the National Commission for Scheduled Caste recommended arrest of Maharathy in March, the state government has done nothing," he alleged.

He had also lodged an FIR against policemen for allegedly forcibly taking the body from the family to the morgue. The state government had provided Rs 10 lakh financial assistance to the victim`s family immediately after her death. Meanwhile, different civil society organisations, women bodies and political parties staged demonstrations at Bhubaneswar and other places seeking justice for the victim and her family.

The activists of SUCI had a minor scuffle with the police while staging civil diobedience in front of the state secretariat here. The dalit leaders also condemned the police action of whisking away the victim`s body first to Arjungada village and then to Puri against the wishes of the family members. The family of the Pipili rape victim had refused to cremate her body on Friday.

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