Puri: A teenage tribal girl, who works at a water park in Malatipur area in Puri district, has been allegedly raped inside a stationary bus in the pilgrim town, a senior police officer said on Tuesday. The incident has triggered a political storm in the state, with the opposition parties, the BJP and the Congress, seeking a reply from the ruling BJD on the matter.
The 15-year-old girl, a resident of Keonjhar district, was rescued after local people spotted her crying near Sri Gundicha temple, Puri SP Uma Shankar Dash said. The accused, a helper in the bus, has been arrested and a case filed under section 376 of the IPC (rape) and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, he said.
According to her statement, Dash said, the girl, who was on her way to Malatipur from Keonjhar in a bus on Monday, fell asleep and missed her stop. "On waking up around 9 pm, when the bus had reached the Puri bus stop, she wanted to return to Malatipur, but the helper apparently assured her that she would be dropped off at her destination the next morning. Later that night, the helper allegedly raped her," the SP said.
Both the girl and the accused have been sent for medical examination to the district headquarters hospital here, he added. Condemning the incident, Congress MLA Suresh Routray demanded a judicial inquiry into the incident.
"We demand a judicial inquiry into the incident. How is that a girl got raped despite the presence of huge number of police personnel in the town (for Rath Yatra)," he said. Seeking a statement from the Naveen Patnaik-led government on the matter, BJP leader Lekhasree Samantasinghar said, "The BJD has no moral right to speak on women empowerment when minor girls in Odisha are not safe."
State Transport Minister Padmanabh Behera, on his part, said the government would ensure strict punishment for the culprit. "Our department will fully cooperate with the police in its investigation and ensure strict punishment for the culprit," Behera added.
Updated Date: Jul 10, 2019 09:51:23 IST