Rape-murder triggers protests in Odisha

Bhubaneswar, Aug 21 (IANS) The rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Odisha's capital a day ago triggered angry protests with hundreds of people Wednesday blocking roads and staging demonstrations, police said.

Activists of Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) blocked a busy road for hours by burning tyres and demanded compensation for the victim's kin and strong action against the offender, a police officer told IANS.

The issue echoed in the ongoing monsoon session of the state assembly with members of opposition parties, including those of the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, creating a noisy scene during zero hour and twice forcing adjournment of the proceedings.

Normalcy returned to the assembly only after state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kalpataru Das assured members that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik would make a statement on the matter.

Patnaik condemned the incident and announced an ex-gratia of Rs.10 lakh to the family of the victim.

Making a statement in the assembly, the chief minister said he has urged the police to complete the investigation quickly. "I will request the judiciary to take up the trial in a fast-track mode and complete the case early," Patnaik said.

According to police, 22-year-old accused Ashok Sahu allegedly asked the victim's family about an address in the city's Salia Sahi slum, after which they sent the Class 4 student with him to lead him to the house.

Instead of locating the house, Sahu allegedly took the girl to a secluded area of the slum and raped her before strangling her to death.

The incident occurred Tuesday afternoon, but came to light after the victim's family and other residents searched for the girl when she did not return. The residents spotted her body in a nearby area and informed police.

A CCTV camera at the gate of a private college showed the accused leading the victim away. Locals nabbed Sahu and handed him over to police.

The victim's family and the accused are daily-wage earners and residents of the same slum. They were known to each other, police said.


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