Hunt for gang-rape culprits intensified in Karnataka

Manipal (Karnataka), June 22 (IANS) Police Saturday intensified search for the three men, accused of gang-raping a 22-year-old medical student, even as hundreds of college students demonstrated here seeking safety for girls and security in the Manipal University campus.

"We have intensified the search to track the culprits and locate the auto-rickshaw in which the victim was abducted late Thursday and driven to a secluded spot to commit the crime. We have also interrogated some locals for clues though no one had been detained or arrested," Udupi Superintendent of Police M.B. Boralingaiah told IANS.

A major educational centre, Manipal is 5 km from the famous Udupi temple town on the west coast of the state and about 410 km from Bangalore.

With pressure mounting to hunt down the accused, the district police formed four more teams to crack the case and sent a couple of them to Udupi and Mangalore, 60 km from here, to coordinate the investigation.

"As the victim is still in the hospital under treatment for a fracture in her leg and injuries to hands and neck, we have not questioned her so far to collect details about the crime. We may seek the help of doctors attending on her to ask on our behalf," Boralingaiah said.

Police registered a criminal case Friday against the three unidentified accused, including an auto driver, under sections 366 and 376 (abduction and rape) read with 34 (common intent) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on a complaint by the victim to the local police station.

The incident occurred when the victim, a fourth-year student of the Kasturba Medical College, was waiting to hire an auto outside the Manipal University campus gate to return to her flat from the library around 11.30 Thursday.

"The victim said in the complaint that she was abducted by the accused, driven to an isolated spot and gang-raped after midnight. Though she managed to reach her flat later, she gave the complaint early Friday," Boralingaiah said.

Meanwhile, braving heavy downpour, students of the medical college and other degree colleges in the university took out a protest march in the campus against the incident and urged police to nab the culprits and convict them under the new anti-rape laws.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah directed Home Minister K.C. George to visit Manipal Sunday and meet the agitated students.

Condemning the incident, Siddaramaiah told reporters in Bangalore that security would be stepped up in the university to ensure the safety of students, especially girls.