Court issues NBW against rapist Meghalaya cop

Shillong, June 4 : A lower Court in Meghalaya Monday issued a non-bailable warrant against a police officer arrested for rape and who is now on the run after escaping from custody, even as a child rights panel sought a detailed report on the crime.

Nurul Islam, who was in-charge of the Ampati police station, was arrested Saturday on charges of molesting and raping two sisters. He escaped from police custody on Sunday from Tura, the district headquarters of West Garo Hills.

"The court has issued a non-bailable warrant against Islam. The court has also directed the bank to freeze his account," Ram Singh, the district magistrate of South West Garo Hills, told IANS.

Ram Singh said that the government has also suspended South West Garo Hills Deputy Superintendent of Police (Headquarters) Bijay Chettri and three constables in conncetion with Islam's escape from custody. On Sunday, the government had suspended Islam, while Sub-inspector Pyniarborlang Lynshiang, who escorted Islam, has also been suspended for dereliction of duty.

Meanwhile, the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) Monday sought a detailed report from the Meghalaya government on the alleged rape of two minor girls by Islam.

"The DGP had submitted a report in relation to the case, but we found that there were certain gaps in it. We are not satisfied with the report and we have asked him to submit a detailed report within the next three days," NCPCR member Yogesh Dube told journalists here.

"The report was also unclear how the girls, who are still minors, were called to the police station by the concerned officer," Dube added.

Soon after their arrival in Meghalaya capital Shillong, the three-member NCPCR team summoned Director General of Police Prem Singh, Principal Secretary (Home) K.S. Kropha and Principal Secretary (Social Welfare) P.W. Ingty and sought replies to queries on the case.

The complaint lodged by the victims' father alleged that Islam had molested and raped his 14-year-old daughter inside the Ampati police station March 13. On March 31, he raped her sister, 17, at gunpoint, in their house, the father said.

The officer had threatened to kill both the girls if they dared inform anyone.

Islam was shifted from Ampati, the district headquarters of South West Garo Hills, to Tura in view of the "tense" situation after angry people gathered in front of the police station.

"It is baffling to know that the concerned officer was taken to his quarter instead of being put in the police lock-up. Why this special treatment for him? They have to trace the absconding officer," Dube maintained.

The NCPCR team has instructed the Meghalaya government to invoke various sections of the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act Juvenile Justice Act and other sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The POCSO Act defines five sexual offences against children - penetrative sexual assault, aggravated penetrative sexual assault, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault and sexual harassment and using a child for pornographic purposes.

Condemning the heinous rape of the two minor girls, Meghalaya's first woman home minister, Roshan Warjri, said: "I have ordered a high-level inquiry by Inspector General of Police H. Nongpluh into the alleged rape and the escape of Islam from custody."

Meghalaya police have stepped up efforts to arrest the absconding officer.

"His whereabouts are unknown. He has gone into hiding, but a search operation has been launched to trace Islam," Inspector General of Police (Western Range) H. Hongpluh said.

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

Meghalaya government statistics reveal that in 2012, 255 crimes crimes were reported against women, of which 164 were rapes.