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November 16, 2003

Cops reject FIR on rape of inmate

From: Calcutta Telegraph, India - Nov 16, 2003


The authorities of Liluah Home for Destitute Women have failed to lodge a first information report (FIR) against an employee found guilty of raping a deaf-and-mute inmate two years ago, in spite of a government order to do so three days ago.

Armed with the order, home officials went to Bally police station twice on Saturday and Sunday, but officer-in-charge (OC) Samir Chatterjee refused to accept the FIR, saying "the case is too old and there is nothing in it to investigate".

Howrah district magistrate S. Kishore, who also oversees the Liluah home, said: "I will look into the matter and take necessary action." The social welfare department, under which the home falls, started an inquiry after the deaf-and-mute girl turned pregnant two years ago. She gave birth to a male child last year.

The authorities suspected an employee, Subrata Panth, had raped the girl. They suspended him and initiated a departmental inquiry. The inquiry continued for a year and a half and ended a few days ago.

"Becoming pregnant in a state-run home for destitutes is a sensitive incident. By the rules, no male employee can enter the blocks where women inmates are lodged. The incident took us by surprise," said a home official. He added: "We did not lodge any complaint with the local police station. Instead, we reported the case to the social welfare directorate."

An order from the directorate, asking the authorities to lodge an FIR, reached the Liluah home three days ago. Accordingly, a letter was drafted by superintendent Sheuli Bala and sent to Bally police station on Saturday. But OC Chatterjee refused to accept the complaint.

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