Just two days after the Odisha High Court decided to stop monitoring the treatment of the alleged gang rape victim of Pipili, the doctors at the SCB medical college and hospital here on Thursday announced that the 19-year-old Dalit girl died, after battling for life in the hospital for more than five months.
“The patient, Bebina Behera, who was under treatment here in a critical condition, passed away at 11.15 a.m. on Thursday. She died of septicaemia [blood infection], acute respiratory distress syndrome [ARDS], and cardiac arrest,” said emergency officer B.N. Moharana.
The body of the girl was handed over to her family members in the evening after post-mortem, which was done under tight security, and in the presence of crime branch police officials, who are investigating the case.
Earlier, in the afternoon, District Collector Girish S.N. had handed over a cheque for Rs. 10 lakh to the father of the victim, Babuli Behera, saying that the State government had announced the compensation to the family. Accepting the government compensation reluctantly, a distressed Babuli said he wasn’t satisfied with the government’s overall handling of the case.
“I’m not satisfied with the crime branch enquiry. The matter should be handed over to the CBI, and the accused persons should get death penalties,” Babuli said.
Meanwhile, the crime branch police, which had submitted charge sheets against eight persons in this case, including attempt to murder charges against two, have decided to file a supplementary charge-sheet, converting the charges from Section 307 to Section 302 of IPC.
Political parties and social outfits which had been demanding a CBI enquiry, reiterated their demands, adding that all the eight persons against whom charges have been made, including three doctors and a dismissed police inspector, should be arrested.
The Dalit girl was found in a semi-nude and unconscious state near her house in Arjungoda village of Pipili, on November 29 last year.
While the family members had alleged gang rape and an attempt on her life, the local police hadn’t registered a case, and the doctors allegedly went for faulty treatment and injected her with anti-venom serum, saying she was bitten by a poisonous snake.
The incident soon snowballed into a major controversy, and also accounted for a Cabinet Minister losing his job, an IPS officer being shunted, and a police inspector being dismissed from service.
It was only after the High Court’s intervention that the girl was given proper treatment at a government hospital, free of cost.