The gang rape of a medical student in Manipal in June may have hit national headlines, but two separate incidents of rape and murder of two girls in Dakshina Kannada district last year received little attention. The families of the two girls continue to struggle for justice.

Besides the fear of being persecuted by the accused, their socio-economic condition appears to have changed forever.

Ujire incident

A year ago, a 17-year-old girl was raped and murdered near Ujire. Her parents, who alleged the hand of powerful persons in the case, recently demanded a CBI inquiry. One person has been arrested, but the girl’s father believes that the “real culprit” is roaming free. “We are under surveillance. We may be killed, but we are ready to fight,” said the uncle of the victim.

While maintaining that there is no evidence of the involvement of more than one person (who has been arrested), the police, said one more chargesheet would be filed.

In the other case of rape, the sister of the victim, a teacher, who was raped and murdered in Bantwal Town police limits in February, now bears the economic burden of the family. She passes the spot where her sister’s body was found, every day on her way to work. She stopped her studies to help augment the family income, says her mother.

The girl’s 50-year-old father, a folk artiste who participates in Bhoothakoola, said they continue to get threats of attack by those who are close to the accused, who is at present in jail. The family is frequently told that the accused will come out of jail and attack them.

“I hope he continues there (in jail) for some more time,” the father said. The girl’s mother, who works as a domestic help in a few houses in the locality, said efforts were made to settle the case out of court. “But we have stood our ground. We want the accused (Satish (24), a local resident) to be punished.”

While police have filed a chargesheet, the trial is yet to begin.

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