Rashmi Drolia,TNN | Jul 16, 2015, 07.52 PM IST
As per the complaint of a 15-year-old girl, accessed by TOI, main alleged accused Ganraj entered her room in hostel and hugged her tightly after which he started fondling her to which she resisted. “Ganraj pushed her onto the bed and tried to force himself upon her, when I started screaming. He immediately withdrew and tried explaining that being a Christian, such gestures were common and that I shouldn’t mind. Ganraj said that it was because of him that I got admission in the hostel and that I should keep mum about the incident. He tried to give me Rs 100 to keep my mouth shut,” the complaint said.
On enquiring with hostel superintendent Manjulata Uikey, she told TOI that she had reported the matter to police after the girls complained her about politicians’ activities.
“I was 60 kilometers away from Pali in Korba when Ganraj called me saying that he wasn’t to visit hostel for inspection. I told him not to visit in my absence. Few minutes later, I received a call from homeguard Jankuwar that Ganraj with seven others was forcibly trying to enter the hostel. Though I had alerted other security guards to follow the visitors and take care of girls, the incident of assault was reported to me by girls and I rushed back to Pali,” she mentioned in the complaint to police.
Uikey told TOI that as of now, three girls have reported sexual assault and others were too horrified to reveal much but total 10 girls have complained of wrong behaviour. “It is illegal for any public representative to barge in girls’ hostel in my absence in the evening. They have to understand, it’s not a public place but girls’ hostel.”
Speaking to TOI, Korba SP Amreesh Mishra said that an FIR was lodged against seven persons of which five were arrested while others remain at large. Ganraj was arrested late in the evening.
“Cases under Section 448, 354, 186, 147 of IPC and 34, 7, 8 under Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Act and 3 (1/11) of ST/ SC atrocities Act were registered based on the complaint,” he said.
Korba ASP Kirtan Rathore assured that the hostel was being guarded by a female homeguard as per Chhattisgarh government’s rules.
Though ASP didn’t reveal who were the other two accused, local sources indicated there were two media persons among those visited the hostel.
Meanwhile, Ganraj has circulated a hand-written letter via Whatsapp refuting the charges against him in defense.
“I am being framed on wrong charges as it is a routine job for me to visit hostels and other institutions along with few media persons. While I went with media persons to hostel, there were lots of irregularities found in hostel where 100 girls reside and superintendent remains absent most of the time, specially during night. I had been receiving complaints against her since long. Hence, to save herself from facing action, she has framed me into wrong allegations,” he wrote.
Condemning the act, former chief minister Ajit Jogi said that it was a serious crime that reminds of Jhaliamari incident of Kanker where 11 minor girls were assaulted at a residential school, two years ago. Though the accused are Congressmen, they deserve tough action, else tribal parents and girls will have no scope for study in safe environment in tribal hostels.
During the day, tension erupted when ABVP workers and other associations in large staged massive protest and gheraoed collectorate, demanding arrest of the accused. Heavy police force had to be pressed in during the protest.