Chaos in Nashik: Locals torch police vehicles, stage protests across city over minor’s rape
A 5-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a teen near Trimbakeshwar in Nashik late last night, leading to large scale protests in the area. An angry mob even set the accused’s house on fire.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has appealed to locals to stay calm and assured that the case would be tried in a fast track court. The Nashik police said that the situation is tense, but under control.
The 16-year-old boy, who has been taken into custody, allegedly tried to rape the minor girl at Talegaon village near Trimbakeshwar in the district yesterday, Nashik Superintendent of Police Ankush Shinde said today.
The teen has been booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and sections of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
The minor is undergoing treatment at a hospital in Nashik. It is not yet confirmed medically whether she has been raped.
On Saturday evening, the girl and her elder sister (7) were sitting in their house, when the accused lured them out by offering them chocolates.
He then took them to an isolated place where he allegedly tried to rape the 5-year-old, while her elder sister managed to flee.
As soon as the news spread, tension gripped Talegaon as locals gathered at the police station last night demanding that the boy be booked and arrested.
A group of people also protested at Nashik Civil Hospital last night and demanded that the victim be examined by a woman doctor.
The villagers staged ‘rasta roko’ in Wadovhare, Ghoti and Anjaneri-phata areas. Some people set tyres on fire, and also damaged a tractor in Talegaon.
The enraged mob gathered at several places this morning also and damaged three police vehicles, including the car of Special IG, Nashik Range, Vinaykumar Choube, when he was rushing to Talegaon today.
Police had to use teargas shells and fire two live rounds in the air at Talegaon to disperse the mob, a rural control room official said.
People also staged ‘rasta roko’ on Nashik-Igatpuri road, Nashik-Aurangabad road and Mumbai-Agra National Highway today where later extra police force was deployed and the routes cleared.
In the last 12 hours, thousands of travelers were stranded on the highways passing through Nashik for hours.
Some angry people also observed bandh at Ojhar town in the district against the incident.
Maharashtra Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan, who is also the Guardian Minister of Nashik, visited the girl’s family and termed the incident as ‘unfortunate’. He said a rape attempt was made on her by the boy and said the case would be fast-tracked.
Mahajan assured that charges will be framed in the case within a fortnight and it will be heard in a fast track court. Senior lawyer Ujjwal Nikam will be appointed as prosecutor in the case, he said.
NCP President Sharad Pawar has also appealed to masses to ensure there is no disharmony in the society.
“People are very angry due to the Nashik incident. At the same time, the government showed its will to take steps against the perpetrator of the crime and the police have arrested the accused,” Pawar told reporters.
Meanwhile, Nashik school association has reportedly decided to keep schools in the area closed for security reasons.
Those who are scheduled to travel to Nashik tomorrow are advised to cancel or delay their visit till tension subsides.
There is also speculation that the media is ‘downplaying’ the incident on request by the district administration.
“If you see the news, you would think 10-15 people are protesting. But there are thousands that are protesting across the city in various forms. Buses have been cancelled, highways closed, people are on the streets, but if you switch on the news, it seems like nothing is happening. It seems highly unlikely that media is all of a sudden ‘uninterested’ in a protest of this scale,” said Rajvir Bisht, a local.
In a bid to stop the spreading of false information, Nashik police issued an official statement pertaining to the incident around 11 pm.
In their statement, police have said that a minor, yet unfortunate, incident took place last night. Authorities took cognizance of the matter immediately and provided the necessary help to the victim. They have urged citizens to not spread rumors about the incident on social media and notify them if anyone is trying to do the same.
Nashik police have assured that action will be taken against the accused and those spreading false rumors about the matter.
The alleged rape incident comes three months after a 14-year-old was gang raped and murdered in Kopardi, Ahmednagar. Since then, the Maratha community has staged silent protests across the state to demand justice.