Meghalaya gangrape victim ‘harassed, denied admission’

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First she was gangraped and almost beaten to death. Now this 16-year-old girl is facing numerous forms of harassment. After her family decided to shift her to another town, at least one school denied her admission in the new location. The family is also under pressure to withdraw the case, according to rights activists.

“There seems to be no end to the woes of this hapless girl who somehow managed to save her life after she was gangraped by as many as 17 persons. While the family has shifted her to another town, at least one school in the new place is denying her admission on various grounds. But what is more alarming is that the family is under pressure to withdraw the case altogether,” said Agnes Kharsiing of Civil Society Women’s Organisation (CSWO), a Shillong-based NGO that works for women’s rights in Meghalaya.

“One of the accused is related to a state minister. It is from this person’s family that the victim girl’s family has been under pressure. They are intimidating the girl’s family,” alleged Kharsiing over the telephone from Shillong Sunday.

“To make matters worse, some people have been harassing the girl every time she comes out of her house. Some people even took pictures of her with mobile phones when she went out to the market with her parents,” Kharsiing said. Kharsiing said while the family has contacted CSWO, she has already written a letter to the Meghalaya State Commission for Women (MSCW), the state chief secretary and DGP to take necessary action.

Gamchi Timre R Marak, a member of the MSCW, said the girl was currently in a safe place and that one school has finally agreed to admit her: “It is true that a member of one of the accused persons had taken her pictures on the mobile. It is also true that one school denied her admission. But now we have found one school which has agreed to take her.”

West Garo Hills Collector Pravin Bakshi, however, said the district authorities were not aware of any such harassment in his district to which the girl has been relocated. “I have asked the district social welfare officer and the child protection officer to find out and submit a report by tomorrow,” Bakshi said.

The girl was gangraped on December 13 while she was returning home from a local tribal festival in a town in East Garo Hills district.

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