IMPHAL, April 20, 2017: On April 14, Cheiraoba evening, four youngsters had invited their girl friends to witness the thabal chongba festivities. They went together happily but got waylaid by a vicious gang of seven goons. The two juvenile girls were sexually assaulted by six persons.
Imphal East police, in swift response, have apprehended the alleged rapists and are presently in police custody. On the fateful day, at around 8.30 pm, the four students had taken the girls on their motorbikes. They had visited some thabal chongba sites.
According to reliable sources, they were followed by the gang. As they were riding along Khurai Angom Leikai area with the girls pillion riding they were followed by some people behind.
Two motorcycle borne youths pulled up suddenly in front of the four riders while an Alto car sandwiched them from behind. Realizing that something was about to happen, two of the cornered bikes pulled out and escaped. But, two bikes along with their pillion riders were halted by the gang.
First, they took the motorcycle keys and the mobile phones from the two boys and girls. They forcibly pushed in the two girls inside the alto car while the two boys were made to ride pillion in the motorcycles which had waylaid them. They had posed as members of an insurgent organization, the source added.
Later, they were taken to Phaknung area of Imphal East and to a hillock which is deserted. The two boys were taken separately by three of the gang members while the girls were taken to an isolated spot by four members of the gang.
The boys who accompanying the girls protested the action but were beaten with sticks by the gang members. The two girls were later sexually assaulted by the four persons.
Afterwards, another two members who were guarding the boys also took turns in violating the girls. Out of the seven, only one person did not commit the criminal act.
Afterwards, the victims were transported back in a similar manner but the Alto car broke down near Khurai Angom Leikai. One of the gang members took a male victim to the bikes which were left there earlier. Seizing the opportunity, the boy managed to flee with his motorcycle. The gang members got apprehensive and later freed the two girls and the second boy near Lamlong bazaar.
Police registered a case after a complaint was lodged. Police arrested the seven persons on Tuesday. On primary investigation, they culprits have confessed to raping the girls. A medical examination has been conducted and the result of the test will be available in a few days time.
The six accused have been identified as one Thongam Sadananda Singh, 22, son of late Shamu Singh of Moirang Kampu, Thounaojam Bikas Singh, 19, son of Th Robindro Singh, Loushangbam Thomas Singh, 19, son of Mangoljao Singh, Lousembam Suraj alias Dingku, 19,son of L Lokendro Singh, Loushangbam Jayananda Singh, 18, son of L Khogendro Singh, Phuritsabam Rajan Singh, 18, son of Ph Bishwarup Singh and Thounaojam Shashikanta Singh alias Gora, 19, son of Th Binoy Singh. They all hail from Khurai Angom Leikai.
Out of the gang members, only Th Shashikanta refrained from raping the girls. Of the seven accused the Judge have remanded the six to police custody for seven days while seventh accused has been sent to Juvenile Justice Board (JJB).
The accused were charged under Section 376-D/120-B/363/34 IPC and Section 6 Protection Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.
One among the accused was sent to Juvenile Justice Board following production of valid documents substantiating the claim of being a juvenile by his lawyer advocate Paikhomba.
It is learnt that the investigation officer of the case instructed the family members of the six mentioned accused to produce relevant documents to authenticate their claims of being juveniles.
Reacting to the incident the secretary of the District Legal Services Authority, (DLSA) Impha East, N Noutuneshwari, appealed the public to refrain from taking the law into their own hands by delivering mob justice to the family members of the accused.
The DLSA secretary observed in the event of a crime such as rape or murder, the locals of the accused go on rampage by destroying houses of the accused or expelling the family members of the accused.
Stating that committing such an act is unlawful she said the family members of accused are often victimized for no foul of theirs.
“Let the law take their own course,” said Noutuneshwari urging the police to conduct their investigation efficiently to prevent any untoward incident.
Source: Imphal Free Press