Two persons arrested from Vadodara for the alleged gang rape and assault of a minor girl. (Express Photo by Javed Raja)
The Ahmedabad City Crime Branch on Saturday night arrested two men in their twenties from Vadodara city for the alleged gang rape and assault of a minor girl in Navlakhi ground of Vadodara on November 28.
According to police, the accused — Kishan Mathasuriya (28) and Jasho Solanki (21) — allegedly accosted the 15-year-old girl and her friend in Navlakhi ground in Vadodara city. They assaulted her friend and dragged the girl to a secluded place in the ground where they took turns to rape her, police said.
Mathasuriya and Solanki are natives of Tarsali area in Vadodara and according to police records, they have been involved in incidents of theft, assault and break-in in the past.
“The two accused gang-raped the minor girl at the Navlakhi ground compound on November 28 night and with the support of human intelligence, technical intelligence, CCTV footage analysis and questioning of residents near Navlakhi ground compound, we arrested two persons from Tarsali area of Vadodara city. Both the accused were booked for theft, assault and break-in in the past as well. Further investigation is on,” said Ajay Kumar Tomar, special commissioner of police, Ahmedabad City Crime Branch.
Meanwhile, the mother and sister of the survivor demanded that the two men be hanged to death. “My daughter was forced to walk through thorny bushes, injuring her legs, and then she was gang-raped,” the mother of the survivor said. “We want the government to ensure the case is heard in a fast-track court and the accused are hanged to death, so that it sets an example for others,” she said.
“The Gujarat government should request the High Court to fast-track this case. The state should provide dedicated public prosecutors for the case,” the girl’s sister said.
According to the FIR, the incident occurred between 8.15 pm and 11 pm on November 28 when the girl and her friend were taking a stroll along Navlakhi ground after visiting Khangah-e-Aliya Rafaiya Dargah. The men accosted them, assaulted her friend and dragged the girl for over 800 metres on the rough, dusty ground to a secluded side, where they beat her up and took turns to rape her.
Around 11 pm, her friend managed to come out of the ground and sought help when a Police Control Room (PCR) van arrived at the spot and rescued her. The accused fled the scene when the PCR van arrived, the girl told police.
According to police, the girl’s friend said in his statement that he tried to seek help from people inside the Navlakhi compound, including a family that resides within the compound before calling friends for help.
The accused have been booked under IPC sections 325 (grievous hurt), 363 (kidnapping), 376 (2) (I) (N) (rape), 376 (D) (gang rape), 377 (Unnatural offences), and under relevant sections of the Gujarat Police Act and the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The case was registered early on November 29, after a medical examination confirmed rape, police said. The victim was discharged from the hospital next day of the incident and is said to have sustained injuries on her private parts.
After public outcry over the incident, as many as 20 teams of Vadodara Police were on a manhunt, with sketches of the two accused made from the girl’s description. Teams were also sent to Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh to look for the accused and help of Ahmedabad city crime branch was also sought.
Following the arrest, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani lauded Gujarat Police and announced that the state government will try the case in fast-track court. Addressing reporters on Sunday, Rupani said, “Gujarat police have worked hard with intelligence to ensure all the accused in the three cases in Surat, Rajkot and Vadodara, Gujarat Police was able to nab the accused. The state government will try these three cases in fast-track courts and will ensure that strictest punishment to the tune of death penalty or life term is given to the culprits.”
The state government had come under heavy fire after three cases of sexual violence against women and girls emerged in Surat, Rajkot and Vadodara in the backdrop of national outcry over the rape and murder of a veterinary doctor in Hyderabad.