Even after 50 days of the alleged gang-rape of a tribal woman, her 12-year-old daughter and their murder, the Dhekiajuli Police in Assam’s Sonitpur district is yet to arrest the accused involved in the case and provide justice.

The incident of attack on a family of Rabha community took place on February 20, 2021 at Kadombari (Haldibari), 2 km away from the family’s actual village, Chapai Baligaon under Dhekiajuli police station.

Besides the two, the accused, who were allegedly non-tribals, also attacked another 3-year-old girl of the family, who received serious injuries on her face due to the attack.

The incident took place at 8.30 pm on February 20, 2021 when election campaigns were going on for the Assam Assembly election 2021.

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The father of the family, Muna Rabha, in a letter to the Sonitpur deputy commissioner alleged that on February 20 night his wife was undressed by a group of non-tribals in their hut in the paddy field at Kadombari (Haldibari), raped and attacked with sharp weapons.

The seriously injured mother of two somehow fled from the spot and reached a neighbour’s house and informed that she was attacked by non-tribals and appealed to save her two daughters in their hut from the clutches of the non-tribal miscreants.

She later became unconscious. In the meantime, a team of police reached the spot and she was taken to the Tezpur Medical College Hospital where she was declared bought dead.

Muna Rabha said his 12-years and 3-month-old daughter was also attacked in her face by the miscreants on the night to keep her silent and kidnapped by the miscreants.

However, the 3-year-old minor was recovered by villagers in the hut.

Rabha said the naked body of his 12-year and 3-month old daughter was found in the paddy field of Chapai Baligaon, 2 km away from the spot of the attack, with deep injury marks in her private parts.

In his letter to the DC, the Rabha said the body of his daughter was “wounded with sharp weapons and later police had taken the dead body for post-mortem, hence, in view of the facts and circumstances, it was a brutal gang-rape and murder case and also attract (punishment) under Scheduled Tribes Atrocities Act”.

Talking to Northeast Now, Assam’s tribal social and legal activist Raju Deuri said, “The police should have registered the case under the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocity) Act 1989, but the police at Dhekiajuli police station did not register this case under this Act. This may be due to unawareness or negligence on the part of the police.”

The case was filed on the basis of an FIR under sections 448/302/326/366(A) IPC on February 22, 2021, two days after the incident.

Activist Deuri said, “As this was an incident of atrocities on a tribal family by non-tribals, as per the Section 7 of the SC/ST Rules, 1955, it should be probed by an investigation officer not below the rank of deputy superintendent of police (DSP) and file the chargesheet within two months from the date of occurrence of the incident.”

But the Sonitpur Police or the district administration has not taken the case seriously prompting the tribal organizations to raise voice against the authorities.

Talking to Northeast Now, Dipen Deori, vice-president of the Assam unit of the All India Tribal Association, said, “We appeal to the Sonitpur district police to take the case of atrocities on the Rabha woman and her minor daughter of Chapai Baligaon under Dhekijuli, who were allegedly gang-raped and murdered brutally. The case should be brought under relevant section of the IPC (449/459) and the provisions of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocity) Act 1989 should be added.”

Raju Deuri, who is also an advocate, said the Sonitpur district administration is yet to extend any financial assistance to the distressed family and no measure has been taken for the treatment of the injured 3-year-old minor.

“But as per section 12(4) of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocity) Act 1989, the district magistrate of sub-divisional magistrate or any executive magistrate should make necessary arrangement and provide relief in cash or in kind or both within 7 days to the victims of atrocity, their family members and dependents,” activist Deuri said.

Sunil Teron, president of the Assam unit of All India Tribal Association demanded that the investigation into the alleged gang-rape and murder case be intensified and the culprits punished with immediate effect.

“The compensation should be released in accordance with the provisions of the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocity) Rules 1955 to the family members of the atrocity victims,” Teron said.

The tribal organizations also said the entire police department of Assam should be sensitized and the police personnel are made aware of the aims and objectives of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocity) Act 1989.

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