A newly elected member of Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) from the ruling Gana Suraksha Party (GSP) is an accused in a minor girl’s alleged rape case, registered last year, which had led to his arrest.
Ghanashyam Das, who won from the Dihira seat, was sworn in on Tuesday as an executive member of the council, which administers four districts, in presence of chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal at Kokrajhar–the BTC headquarters.
In April last year, police in Guwahati had arrested Das, who was a member of BTC at that time as well, on charges of raping a 15-year-girl, employed as a domestic help with a family in the city’s Patharquari area.
“The matter came to light after the girl delivered a child at a private hospital and the child welfare department was informed by authorities. Questioning of the girl revealed she was allegedly raped by Das,” said Miguel Das Queah, a Guwahati-based child rights activist.
Das had allegedly raped the girl on the pretext of warding off some evil influence on her employer’s family.
Based on the girl’s testimony, Queah had filed an FIR against Das and the BTC-member-cum-tantrik was arrested by the police on various charges including provisions of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. He was released on bail a few months later.
“The police filed its charge-sheet against Das in October last year. The case is at framing of charges stage and trial is yet to begin. In the meantime, Das managed to get elected from BTC again,” said Queah.
Significantly, the victim and her child, who were kept at a home for girls in Guwahati, have been missing for the past few months.
“We are planning to file a missing person report this week seeking the whereabouts of the victim and her child. We will also ensure that Das is not able to influence the victim,” said Queah.
HT was not able to reach out to Das, who along with other members of the ruling coalition in BTC, is holed up in a Guwahati hotel. President of GSP, Nava Sarania, who is the Lok Sabha MP from Kokrajhar, didn’t respond to calls.