The Apex Court bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam directed the district judge of Birbhum to visit the spot where the gang-rape took place and file report before within a week.

"It is a very disturbing news. We take suo motu cognizance of it," said the CJI.

A 20-year-old woman was allegedly gang-raped by over a dozen men following the orders of a kangaroo court which found her "guilty of having an affair with a man outside her community".

 On Thursday, thirteen persons were sent to 14-day judicial custody by a court in Birbhum.

Rejecting their bail petitions, Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate (SDJM), Bolpur Pijush Ghosh sent the 13 accused to jail for two weeks.
 
In Kolkata, West Bengal Governor M K Narayanan advocated corporal punishment for the culprits. The woman's family, in their complaint, said that she was gang-raped by 13 persons after a meeting of community leaders who decided to punish her for being in love with a boy from outside the community, at Labhpur about 200 km from here on January 21.
    
The victim said that among those who brutalised her were people old enough to be her father.

"The morol (village headman) ordered that I be 'enjoyed' by the men of the village. Following his orders, at least 13 people, including (some) members of a single family, continuously raped me. I lost count of how many times I was raped," said the woman.
    
Sources in Suri hospital where she was admitted, said that she underwent some tests and was now in a stable condition. Minister for Women and Child Welfare Sashi Panja, said "I have spoken to the Superintendent of Police and arrests have been made.  All the 13 including the village head have been arrested."
     
She said all medical tests have been conducted.

REACTIONS


The horrendous incident invited huge outrage across the nation.

In Delhi, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari asked the state government to ensure "strictest punishment" to the culprits.
 
West Bengal Women Commission Chairperson Sunanda Goswami said that the Commission would order a probe into the incident on Friday. The district SP will be asked to probe the matter and submit a report to the commission within 10 days.     

State Panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee said it had become a social malaise and had to be discussed at the national level.
    
TMC general secretary Mukul Roy said, "Government is firm and is for strictest action against the culprits for committing this heinous crime. All the accused have been arrested and an inquiry is on."
    
TMC MP Derek O'Brien tweeted, "Awoke to a terrible news of a young tribal girl gang-raped on Khap orders in Birbhum. 10 'beasts' swiftly rounded up. Social malaise; must change."
    
CPI(M) central committee member Mohammed Salim said "What has happened is barbaric, savage and uncivilised. Such incidents are unexpected in Bengal."
    
    
State Congress President Pradip Bhattacharya said, "We are going back to 16th century. This is unprecedented and unacceptable. The state government should take steps to control such incidents."
    
The incident was condemned by intellectuals like poet Sankha Ghosh and painter Jogen Chowdhury.

"This is barbaric and uncivilised. If we can't stop such incidents then both the state and the country will be doomed," Ghosh, a Sahitya Academi award winner, said.

"What happened is shameful and should not have happened. But I personally feel that reporting of such incidents should be done carefully as sometimes it has adverse effects on society," Chowdhury said.

JPN/Agencies

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