Almost four months have passed since a case for attempted rape of a Koraga girl was filed; the accused has not been apprehended or even questioned by the district police though he still walks around in the same village as the victim, said a Koraga group leader here on Sunday.

Venting his ire during the monthly Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) meeting held at the office of the Superintendent of Police, Mataddi, from the Koragara Zilla Samiti, said on October 10, 2012, Dinesh, the son of a landowner, barged into the house of a 20-year-old girl when her daily-wage earning parents were away in Madapadi in Sullia taluk.

Her screams attracted the attention of neighbours, after which he fled the house, he said. Although a case had been registered at the Sullia Rural Police Station the next day — including sections under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 – Dinesh had not yet been arrested, said Mr. Mataddi. “In fact, Dinesh’s family and accomplices have been pressing for a compromise in the case. If he is not arrested before February 7, we will protest in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office,” he said.

This ignited a debate on the safety of women in the heavily-wooded areas of Sullia, Puttur, and Belthangady, where the houses were spaced out and the police patrolling was low.

Better patrolling

Abhishek Goyal, Superintendent of Police, said the case would be looked into at the earliest. He said that patrolling had been increased in the remote areas of the district with three Assistant Sub-Inspectors (ASI) at the police stations there having been given Cheetah motorcycles for patrolling.

Moreover, he said, cases of sexual assault and those regarding atrocities against SCs and STs would be handled better in future after the bifurcation of the sub-division took place. At present, an Assistant Superintendent of Police looked after Bantwal, Belthangady, Puttur and Sullia taluks.

The task would be bifurcated and handled by two Deputy Superintendents of Police (DySPs), he said.

“Udupi district has four taluks, but two DySPs. Dakshina Kannada has five taluks but one ASP. Because of this, the work load was immense,” said Mr. Goyal.

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