RAIPUR: Gangraped by 10 men, beaten to a pulp, hurled down a waterfall and left to drown, a 20-year-old tribal woman in Chhattisgarh fought back to have her tormenters behind bars.
Moved by her courage, police in Jashpur turned over every rock in the area for four days to track down the rapists. On Monday, the survivor picked out five suspects from a line-up of 40. It led to the arrest of five more suspects, two of whom are minors. They have been charged with gangrape and attempted murder.
According to the woman's statement, she was walking home with a male friend on the national highway on September 5 when 10 men waylaid them around 5.30pm, and started molesting her. She was just 3km away from home when all hell broke loose on her.
She says she and her friend ran in different directions to escape but the attackers split up and chased them. Five of them ran after her, overpowered her and dragged her into the forest where they took turns to rape her, beating her all the while for resisting.
She was on the verge of losing consciousness when the other five men returned — having failed to nab her friend — and vent all their wrath on her. She was again beaten and raped repeatedly. The two minors were in the second group.
The horror went on into nightfall. She lost consciousness and began drifting in and out of her senses, realizing that the rapes had stopped but the beating was getting worse. The eight men and two boys dragged her to the edge of a waterfall and threw her over the edge. There she lay, in the water and weeds, for over 10 hours.
She later told police that thick grass cushioned her fall. She survived the night and it was only towards the next afternoon that she managed to drag herself up.
Collecting herself in torn clothes, she crawled and staggered to her sister's home and narrated her ordeal. It took her three days in hospital to recover enough to file a complaint with police, with the support of her parents, on September 9.
Jashpur police station in-charge Shivanand Tiwari told TOI that they immediately set up a team specifically to track down the suspects. Nearly 40 men were rounded up for questioning.
The woman identified five of them — Liander Xavier, 22, Rostin Bek, 20, Sachin Kujur, 19, Sanjeet Kujur, 25, and Nitesh Kujur, 22. They were immediately arrested under IPC Sections 376 (B) (gangrape), 307 (attempt to murder) and 341 (wrongful restraint). Based on their interrogation, five more suspects were arrested, including Amrit, Amit and Ashit. The two others are minors. They have all admitted to raping the woman, say police.
The survivor is under medical care and will undergo rehabilitation and counselling, say police. She will also get compensation.