Police say he is not an accused yet, psychiatrists will analyse him

The police have taken into custody a person, allegedly mentally challenged, in connection with the rape and murder of a 17-year-old girl whose body was found in the bushes near Dharmasthala on Wednesday.

The suspect was taken into custody Thursday night, amid fury from a mob that gathered around and attempted to assault the suspect.

Mob attack

Belthangady police said they resorted to mild lathicharge after the mob threw stones at the station and attempted to storm into the station late on Thursday night.

Police have described him as “seeming delusional” and probably afflicted with a mental condition.

Inspector-General of Police (Western Range) C.H. Pratap Reddy told presspersons in Belthangady on Thursday that although taken into custody, he remained a suspect and not an accused.

He said a psychological test would be done by psychiatrists from Mangalore, and the suspect’s parents would be consulted to determine his mental fitness. “We are still investigating him. He has no criminal records against him in the past,” he said, and added that two teams had been formed to conduct investigations into the crime.

According to police sources, the suspect was taken into custody after a mob surrounded him and started beating him up. “He had told people around that he had raped her but not killed her, and soon many more people gathered to beat him up. Though he was brought to the station with injuries, many persons later tried to get into the station and assault him,” said the Belthangady police. The police have not filed cases against those who assaulted the suspect.

He was taken out from the station on Friday evening.

Protests

Meanwhile, outrage over the rape and murder manifested itself as protests in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi on Friday. Staff and students of SDM College, where the victim had studied, staged a protest at the Belthangady Taluk Office demanding immediate arrest of the culprits. Some demanded that the suspect be handed over to the public. Several activists were prevented from entering Belthangady Police Station as they attempted to assault the suspect.

Gathering at Basaveshwara Circle on the National Highway at Nantoor here, hundreds of students of Karnataka Polytechnic College blocked traffic demanding justice for the victim. Protesting under the banner of Akhila Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the students urged the police to expedite the investigation and prevent incidents like this from recurring. Students at Mangalore University also staged a protest on Friday.

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