The Maharashtra State Commission for Women has taken suo moto 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.
Chakankar in a video message said the commission came to know about the incident through social media and has taken suo moto (on its own) cognisance of the same.
Palghar rape case: 16-year-old gang raped for over 12 hours
A teenage girl was allegedly raped by eight men at a village in Palghar district of Maharashtra, following which the police have arrested all the accused. The incident occurred during the intervening night of Friday and Saturday, in which the accused raped the girl at an unoccupied bungalow in their beach village before taking her to the seashore, where they again sexually assaulted her, an official told PTI.
A case of gang-rape has been registered against the accused at Satpati police station, a spokesperson of Palghar district rural police said, adding that the victim was around 16 years old.
Further, the Palghar police in an official release on Sunday revealed that 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.
"In her complaint lodged on Saturday, the victim said that her ordeal began at 8 pm on December 16 that continued till 10 am the next day, during which the accused took her to an unoccupied bungalow in Mahim village where they took turns to rape her. Later, they also took her to the seashore where they again sexually assaulted her in the bushes," the spokesperson said.
Based on her 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.
Maharashtra State Commission for Women demands strict action
The commission has directed the Palghar district superintendent of police to take stringent action against the arrested accused.
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, Chakankar 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.
(With inputs from PTI)