Girl raped by three college students in Jodhpur in front of boyfriend, accused arrested

July 17, 2023 03:30 am | Updated 03:30 am IST - Jodhpur/Jaipur

Police with the accused, who gang-raped a minor girl, after their arrest, in Jodhpur on July 16, 2023.

Police with the accused, who gang-raped a minor girl, after their arrest, in Jodhpur on July 16, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

A 17-year-old Dalit girl who had eloped with her boyfriend was allegedly gang-raped by three college students in front of him in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur in the early hours of July 16, police said.

The three accused, who thrashed the victim’s boyfriend before taking turns to rape her, were arrested hours after the incident, they said.

A senior police official said the accused were canvassing for a student leader seeking a ticket from the RSS’ student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) for student union elections.

The ABVP, however, said it has no links with the accused.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot spoke to Director General of Police (DGP) Umesh Mishra about the incident in Jodhpur, his home town, and instructed him to ensure strict punishment to the accused, according to officials.

Mr. Gehlot said the promptness with which police arrested the accused is commendable. He added that his government would ensure justice for the victim by securing the harshest punishment for the culprits.

Accused befriended victims

The girl eloped with her boyfriend from Ajmer on July 15. They took a bus and reached Jodhpur around 10:30 p.m. Later, they went to a guest house to get a room but left after the caretaker, Suresh Jat, misbehaved with the girl, said Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) Amrita Duhan.

The two then went to Paota Chauraha, where the three accused — Samandar Singh Bhati, Dharmpal Singh and Bhattam Singh (aged 20-22) — approached them, she said.

The accused befriended the girl and her boyfriend, and offered them food and cold drinks, the DCP said.

When the girl and her boyfriend told the accused about themselves, the three assured them of help. Around 4 a.m., the accused took them to the hockey ground at the old campus of Jai Narayan Vyas University (JNVU) on the pretext of taking them to the railway station, DC Duhan said.

After reaching the ground, they thrashed the boy and held him hostage, while taking turns to rape the girl, she said. As morning walkers started reaching the campus, the accused fled the spot. The girl’s boyfriend sought help from the morning walkers, who informed the police, she added.

Police swung into action and launched a hunt for the accused. A dog squad and a Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) team were also at the spot.

Hours after the incident, the accused were traced to a house in Ganeshpura near Ratanada in Jodhpur. They tried to flee but were injured after they fell. While two of them fractured their legs while trying to flee, the third sustained an injury in the hand, DC Duhan said.

“We arrested all of them after treatment,” she added.

Samandar Singh is a first-year student at JNVU, Dharm Pal Singh is a post-graduation student at JNVU and Bhattam Singh is pursuing B.Ed from Ajmer, the officer said.

Police said they have also arrested the guest house caretaker for allegedly misbehaving with the girl.

Chief Secretary, DGP reviews law and order situation

Hours before the incident, Rajasthan Chief Secretary Usha Sharma and Director General of Police Umesh Mishra held a meeting to review the law and order situation in the State.

An FIR mentioning both the incidents (misbehaviour at the guest house and gang rape at the hockey ground) has been registered with the local police station under relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, IPC and the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

ABVP national secretary Hushiyar Meena said the accused have no links with the student group. “The ABVP demands the strictest punishment for the accused. The law-and-order situation of Rajasthan is deteriorating day by day and the safety of university campuses is being neglected by the Congress government,” he claimed.

‘Character and face of BJP exposed’

Chief Minister Gehlot said there were reports of the involvement of people associated with the BJP and their organisations in rape incidents in Jodhpur and in Datia of Madhya Pradesh.

“Due to such incidents, the character and face of the BJP have been exposed,” he said.

Mr. Gehlot said BJP president J.P. Nadda maintained silence and did not even condemn these incidents which showed the seriousness of the party on women’s safety.

“No matter how influential the accused is, the State Government will secure the harshest punishment to the culprits to get justice for the innocent daughter,” he tweeted.

In Jaipur, Congress-affiliated National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) president Abhishek Choudhary said the student group will give a representation to the governor against the ABVP on Monday.

“This incident is a blot on humanity. The strictest action should be taken against the accused. We will hand over a representation to the governor against the polluted ideology of ABVP,” he said.

Congress leader and Social Welfare Board chairperson Archana Sharma said in Jaipur that the police promptly arrested the accused, which shows the state government’s commitment to women’s safety.

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