BJP workers and hundreds of local people, mostly women, on Wednesday, staged a protest in Phulwarisharif in Patna to express their anger against the alleged gang rape of two minor dalit girls, demanding immediate arrest of the accused, a speedy trial, and death sentence.
Of the two girls, one succumbed to injuries on Tuesday, while the other one is battling for life at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Patna.
Both the girls belong to Bihar's most marginalised dalit communities, Mushahar, who are considered the poorest of the poor and mostly live in a ghetto, Mushahar Toli, outside the main villages.
The incident took place on Tuesday near Hinduni village in Phulwarisharif located on the outskirts of Patna. A day after this horrific incident came to light, angry people took to the streets demanding justice for the victims.
Slogan-shouting protestors with placards in their hands blocked busy roads, burnt tyres that disrupted traffic for hours and also tried to gherao the Phulwarisharif police station. Some protestors blamed local police officials for “laxity that resulted in such a crime.”
After the two minor girls went missing on Monday, the mother of one of them said she visited the local police station and sought help to trace them. She told reporters that police officials advised her to search for them first.
“Had the police acted on time, both the girls could have been rescued," Madhusudan Kumar, one of the protesters, told Newsclick. Women’s activist Kanchan Bala said the incident had shocked the poverty-stricken Mushahar community and once again exposed the safety issue of women.
The state government should provide adequate compensation and stern punishment to the criminals involved, she said.