Three Meghalaya cops arrested for sexual assault

Shillong, Jan 4 : Three Meghalaya Police officers were arrested for sexually assaulting a minor girl in the West Garo Hills district of the state, an officer said Saturday.

Sub-Inspector Bankerlang Kharshanoh and probationary sub-Inspectors Ronald Nongrum and Sylvester Chyne were nabbed Friday night from Tura (district headquarters of West Garo Hills), based on an FIR lodged against them, a police spokesperson said.

"All the three have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for outraging the woman's modesty and attempting to rape her. Some sections under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act were invoked," Mukesh Kumar Singh, the district police chief of West Garo Hills, told IANS.

He said all three police officials have been placed under suspension.

A senior police official said the two probationary sub-inspectors could face termination of service, since they stand accused of a heinous crime against a minor during their probationary period.

On Dec 28 night, the three arrested police officials, who were in an inebriated state, intercepted an auto-rickshaw carrying the victim and her uncle at the Janga area. They accused the victim's uncle of being a militant, and sexually assaulted the girl inside the three-wheeler.

The policemen took the uncle and the girl to the Chandmari police beat house and forced them to sign some papers. The two were also taken for a medical examination before being let off, late in the night.

"An inquiry headed by a woman police officer in the rank of sub-inspector has been appointed to probe the incident," Singh said.

Meanwhile, a local court remanded the three to 14 days' judicial custody.

Last year, the Meghalaya government dismissed from service two police officers accused of rape.

Incidents of crime against women, especially rape, have been showing an upward trend in Meghalaya, traditionally known for its matrilineal society and respect for women.

Meghalaya government statistics reveal that in 2013 alone (from January to September), 250 cases of crimes against women were registered. Of these, 151 were of rape, according to state government statistics.

--IANS (Posted on 04-01-2014)

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