Police have stepped up their probe into the alleged gangrape of a minor girl in Koraput district after Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik directed senior officials to take immediate action against the accused. A case was registered at the Pottangi police station under IPC sections 376(D) (gangrape), 377 (unnatural offences) and provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, Director General of Police (DGP) R P Sharma said today, adding that the police were looking at all angles. The incident occurred yesterday near Kunduli when the minor, on her way to school, was waylaid by four men and dragged to a nearby field, where they took turns to rape her, the police said. The girl had claimed in her statement yesterday that the four accused were in uniform, Koraput Superintendent of Police (SP) Kanwar Vishal Singh said. The survivor, a resident of Musaguda village and a class 9 student of a local school, was spotted by villagers and rushed to a nearby hospital. After preliminary treatment, she was referred to another hospital at Koraput, the police said. Denouncing the incident as "inhuman", the chief minister had instructed the DGP to arrest the accused and initiate stern action against them, an official said. Patnaik had also announced free medical treatment for the victim, the official in the Chief Minister's Office said. The DGP said a senior forensic laboratory officer from Behrampur would be joining the investigation to help the police collect possible samples for chemical examinations. Stating that the episode had to be treated as a "Red Flag" case, the police chief said the Crime Branch would constantly monitor the progress of the investigation. A team of Crime Branch officials, including specialists, was being sent to Koraput to assist the investigating officers, he added. "All necessary steps are being taken to find out the truth and punish the perpetrators," Sharma said. Angry villagers had blocked National Highway 26 near Kunduli yesterday, demanding the immediate arrest of the accused.
Many villagers alleged that security personnel were involved in the incident. Asked about the alleged involvement of security personnel in the "ghastly" act, the DGP said different forces such as the BSF, CRPF and CoBRA operated in Koraput, adding that Naxals could also camouflage themselves in combat uniform. A senior police official said the incident was discussed with the officers of the BSF, CRPF and CoBRA but they denied any movement of their forces in that area yesterday. However, the probe would look into all the possibilities, he added. Senior Congress leader and local MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati said his party would call for a shutdown if the culprits were not arrested within two days. Meanwhile, doctors at the Koraput hospital said the condition of the girl was stable.
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