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NHRC sets deadline for probe into Odisha woman' murder

Bhubaneswar, Feb 26 : India's human rights body has asked Odisha to complete within eight-weeks the probe into the alleged murder of a sexual assault victim and submit a report, a petitioner said here Wednesday.


Acting on two petitions filed by rights activists Manoj Jena and Akhand, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has also ordered the state government to pay interim relief of Rs.5 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased.

Akhand said that 27-year-old Itishree Pradhan died Nov 1 last year at a hospital in Visakhapatnam, four days after she was set on fire at a residential government school Rayagada district's Tikiri town, about 420 km from here.

The victim July 18 had informed the police that area's sub-inspector Netrananda Dandasena threatened her as she refused to withdraw the sexual assault complaint against him.

When police did not take any action on Pradhan's complaint, she approached the district collector of the area, state police chief, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and the state commission for women for justice, Akhand told IANS.

To escape from Dandasena's alleged sexual exploitation, she had even sought transfer to some other place. However, neither any action was taken against the sub-inspector, nor anybody came to her rescue, Akhand said.

Pradhan was watching television along with some children when Dandasena allegedly entered the school room, poured kerosene on her and set her on fire Oct 27. With ninety percent burn, she succumbed to her injuries Nov 1.

The rights body expressed its displeasure over the fact that the victim's kin were yet to receive any interim relief from the government.

NHRC has not only asked the probe agency to complete the investigation within eight-week time, it has also directed the state director general of police to send the final outcome of investigation within the same deadline.

The commission has also asked the state chief secretary and the state government to send within eight weeks the proof of payment of interim relief given to the victim's kin.

The state government said it had suspended a district inspector of school, investigating police officer and the person in-charge of the relevant police station after the incident.

The main suspect was arrested Oct 30 and is now in judicial custody, police said.

--IANS (Posted on 26-02-2014)

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