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Bihar student's suicide: rights body seeks report

Source : IANS
Last Updated: Fri, Sep 07, 2012 07:10 hrs

Patna, Sep 7 (IANS) The Bihar Human Rights Commission Friday sought a report from the police about Kanchanbala Jha, a college student who committed suicide in Sitamarhi district following sexual harassment, intimidation and subsequent "police inaction".

Commission chairperson S.N. Jha said that it took cognisance of two complaints in connection with 21-year-old Kanchanbala's suicide on Aug 23.

"The commission has sought a report from the zonal inspector general of police, Muzaffarpur, within three weeks," Jha said.

The victim's father Udaykant Jha, who is himself a policeman, had demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the incident. He has sent a 40-page petition to the National Human Rights Commission, seeking justice.

The victim's family claims that local police had been under political pressure as the main accused in the case, Birendra Sah, has political patronage. They were thus unwilling to investigate the matter, according to the family of the victim, and sought a compromise between the victim and the accused.

On the directive of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Inspector General Sobha Ohatker had visited the family Wednesday to inquire into the circumstances leading to the suicide.

"Kanchanbala had left a seven-page suicide note accusing local police, including Sitamarhi Superintendent of Police Vivek Kumar, of not taking any action even though ruffians kept stalking her.

Explaining how the harassment began, a district official said, "The girl's brother had been kidnapped June last year, and with her brother hostage, the girl was forced to offer 'indecent favours' to the kidnappers."

According to police, Birendra, along with another accused, Lovely, had forced the girl to pose "in an indecent manner" with Birendra. The episode was filmed, and the film was used for blackmail.

In her suicide note, Kanchanbala said that the filming happened in the house of her friend Puja.

Udaykant said his daughter and son had gone to the Dumra police station to lodge a complaint about the illegal confinement and photography. The policemen advised them against filing a case, and urged a compromise with those who were harassing them.

Birendra offered a written note promising that he would not harass the girl again.

Despite that confession and the promise, Birendra allegedly abducted Kanchanbala's brother Manish June last year, thrashed him and later released him.

Even before Manish could lodge a complaint with the police, Birendra rushed to the Dumra police station and lodged a complaint against him.

After that incident, Kanchanbala met Sitamarhi SP Vivek Kumar July 12. Birendra was arrested but later released on bail, even while he was still at the police station.

After enduring taunts for over a year, Kanchanbala approached the superintendent of police again Aug 19 this year, complaining of continuous harassment by Birendra.

Unable to find relief, and reportedly fed up with "police inaction", she committed suicide Aug 23.

A hue and cry was raised after the suicide by the opposition and women's rights activists.

Birendra was arrested, and the Dumra Station House Officer Ramanand Prasad was suspended.



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