According to the police, the men first demanded Rs 5,100 and a mobile phone from the girl as a “penalty” because her boyfriend was a “non-tribal” and then allegedly forced the girl and her friend to strip and have sex in front of them, before taking turns to rape her.

 Dumka police have arrested 16 out of 17 youths involved in last evening’s gang rape of a 20-year-old tribal girl who in her statement to the police said the tormentors initially intercepted her and her boyfriend with an attitude that smacked of moral policing.

Around 7pm, the youths had allegedly stopped the couple on Ring Road beside Digghi village and in censorious tones accused them of “immoral activities” and threatened to call a manjhi or a tribal head implying that the dating duo deserved to be punished.

Recovering at Dumka Sadar Hospital, the girl today told police that she and her boyfriend stopped their bike near a field to attend nature’s call and not for anything else. The group of assailants, who the girl said were initially around five or six, kept swelling, as she and her boyfriend kept explaining that they had gone via Ring Road for a ride to Sido Kanhu Murmu University campus and were returning to Dumka town.

Brandishing daggers, the group asked for Rs 5,000 “as penalty”. The unwelcome advances started even before the couple said they didn’t have that kind of money. The threat to call a manjhi turned into loud comments of why a manjhi was at all needed to discipline the couple when they, the youths, were there.

 

“In my semi-conscious state I heard them calling each other’s names Daniyal, Anil, Suraj, Saddam, Shahbaz, Qurban, Imran, Zia-ul and more that I don’t correctly recall,” she said.

  Also, after the rape – the girl said some six to seven youths raped her while others watched – she was forced to bathe in a doba and pictures of her naked body were clicked and a video shot to shame and silence her. But, the young couple did not cower and on reaching Dumka town after the ordeal, the girl wearing her boyfriend’s clothes, the two went to the police.

All 16 arrested youths belong to different places in Mufassil police station area of Dumka district. Raids are on to nab the remaining one.

“Twelve arrested youths were today sent to Dumka Central Jail on judicial custody and four others arrested later in the day would be remanded to judicial custody tomorrow,” Santhal Pargana range DIG Akhilesh Jha told this paper over telephone.

The girl also spoke to a Jharkhand State Women’s Commission inquiry panel headed by Sharmila Soren.

Her clothes, hairpin, the daggers of the youths and other items have been recovered from the site of the rape. They will be tested at a forensic lab.

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