Thousands pray for recovery of Baripada temple rape victim

Baripada: As the physically challenged minor rape victim of Baripada’s Jagannath temple struggles for survival at the SCB Medical College Hospital in Cuttack, a large number of people today prayed to the Lord for her speedy recovery.

The activists of BJP Yuva Morcha held a rally that culminated at the Jagannath Temple here and lit lamps invoking the Lord’s blessings for quick recovery of the girl, who was raped by an alleged drug addict youth inside the temple in Baripada town on Friday night.

The students of Baripada College also held a rally in this district headquarters town of Mayurbhanj and submitted a memorandum to Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP), Dinajan Nayak. The students, mostly girls, demanded stringent action against the accused youth who has been arrested by the police immediately after he committed the heinous crime.

The students alleged that the rape was committed under the influence of narcotic substances which were easily available in the town, Baripada Municipality vice-chairman Jitendra Mohanty said. The students urged the police to take take steps to stop drugs peddling in the town.

Meanwhile, the district administration of Mayurbhanj today provided financial assistance of Rs 50,000 to the family of the rape victim. Earlier, the administration had given Rs 10,000 to the victim’s family, said Mayurbhanj district collector R P Patil.

Sources in the SCB Medical College Hospital in Cuttack said, the victim is gradually improving.

The incident took place when the 11-year-old girl went inside the temple for ‘Darshan’ of the Lord late on Friday night when the shrine was virtually deserted, police said.

Taking advantage of the situation, a 28-year-old youth escorted her to the bathing mandap of the Lord and raped her before fleeing.

The victim was rescued in a critical condition from the spot. Angry locals spotted the accused and thrashed him before handing him over to the police.