The Maharashtra State Commission for Women has taken suo motu cognisance of the alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl by eight men at a village in Palghar district and directed police to take stringent action against the culprits, the panel’s chairperson, Rupali Chakankar, has said.
The incident took place during the intervening night of Friday and Saturday. The accused, including a friend of the girl, allegedly raped her at an unoccupied bungalow in the beach village before taking her to the seashore where they again sexually assaulted her, a police official earlier said.
Based on the victim’s complaint, the police arrested the eight accused in the early hours of Sunday and registered a case against them under various Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections including 376 (D) (gang-rape), 366 (A) (procuration of minor girl), 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), and sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, he said.
Chakankar in a video message said the commission came to know about the incident through social media and has taken suo motu (on its own) cognisance of the same.
The commission has directed the Palghar district superintendent of police to take stringent action against the arrested accused, she said.
Chakankar said she has spoken to the police chief and got detailed information about the incident.
The culprits will be convicted and stringent action will be taken against them, she said, adding the commission always makes efforts to ensure such incidents do not occur.
The commission through the ‘Damini squad’ (women specific cells of police) does counselling of girls in schools and colleges and informs them about the pros and cons of the use of social media. While befriending a person on social media, one should verify his/her credentials, she said.
“We all should try to ensure such incidents do not occur and it is the responsibility of the Parents Teachers’ Associations and others in the society to educate girls as they grow up about the hazards of such a friendship,” she said.
The Palghar police in an official release on Sunday said when the girl did not return home on Saturday, her parents carried out a search for her. When they called her up, she kept crying. Later, they approached the police who traced the girl, the release said.
The arrested accused have been remanded in police custody till December 22, the police said.