Pipili gangrape: one more held, HC says no shifting without consent of parents

Another accused in the Pipili gangrape case in Odisha was arrested today even as the government's decision to shift her to AIIMS was put on hold as the state high court observed that she can't be taken to Delhi without the consent of her parents.

"A police team has arrested one more accused, Guna alias Purnachandra Swain, in the case involving the rape of the Dalit girl," Additional DGP (Crime Branch) Abhay said.

Swain was arrested from a village under Pipili police station in Puri district. Prime accused Prashant Pradhan alias Pasei, who was picked up by a special squad from Jatani yesterday, and Swain were being interrogated.

The high court reiterated its earlier observation saying if services of any super specialists from outside are required for better treatment of the victim, then these should be made available at the government expenses.

Earlier, the girl's father Babuli Behera had rejected the state government's offer of shifting her to AIIMS. "They (government) can bring specialists from outside the state. It is not possible on our part to go Delhi as we are very poor and unable to speak in any other language than Odia," Behera told PTI.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice B N Mohapatra also hearing an intervening petition in the case filed by an activist, advised the petitioner to convince the parents and get their consent for taking the victim to New Delhi for better treatment.

"Convince the parents and get their consent to shift the victim to New Delhi," the Chief Justice said, adding that the court doesn't have any problem if the victim is shifted to New Delhi, but it has to be done only after getting the consent of her parents.

"In our family law, the parents are the best judge to decide the welfare of their children. The parents of the teenaged girl are alive and they should be convinced before shifting the victim to New Delhi," the Chief Justice said.

The court also taking note of the government contention that the parents of the victim are refusing to give their consent for shifting the victim from Cuttack hospital, asked the government to file an affidavit as to who contacted the parents of the victim and why they are refusing to shift their daughter to AIIMS.

Observing that the case is highly sensitive, the high court also asked the hospital and police authorities to file their respective status reports again on Wednesday and adjourned the matter to be heard again on that day.

Steps were being taken to shift the girl from SCB Medical College Hospital in Cuttack, to AIIMS for better treatment as advised by a specialist committee of doctors.
The 19-year-old girl was shifted to SCB Hospital from the Capital Hospital here following an Orissa High Court order.

"My wife had not seen the state capital before our daughter was brought to the Capital Hospital. We were not able to communicate in Hindi or any other language than Odia. What will we do in Delhi," Behera said.

Though the girl was allegedly raped on November 28, 2011, police registered an FIR on January 9 after State Human Rights Commission intervened.

Bowing to public outcry over the alleged rape, the Odisha government on January 13 ordered a judicial probe.

Agriculture Minister Pradip Maharathy, who represents Pipili, had come under attack over the incident with the girl's family and women bodies accusing him of shielding the culprits.

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