Justice at last for survivor of 1999 Odisha gangrape that cost CM JB Patnaik his chair

The gangrape survivor, who refused to be pinned down or give up, said she was alone in her trauma and fight.

Published: 22nd February 2021 04:49 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd February 2021 05:18 PM   |  A+A-

Late former Chief Minister JB Patnaik (File photo | PTI)

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: Her fight for justice was a long one, 22 years to be precise. A fight that was marked by death, rape threats, an alleged political conspiracy, and a judgemental society that denied any help or sympathy to her. But the woman -- who was sexually assaulted by three persons on the night of January 9, 1999, at Barang - refused to be pinned down or give up.

Today, two decades later, the arrest of prime accused Bibekananda Biswal in the sensational case that saw the ouster of the then Chief Minister JB Patnaik, has brought her much-needed closure. “At last the law has caught up with him but he should have been arrested while the former Chief Minister JB Patnaik was
alive and the conspiracy angle should have been exposed”, said the survivor who demands that the prime accused be hanged to death.

Thanking Commissioner of Police (CP) Sudhansu Sarangi and his entire team which arrested the prime accused from Pune, she said she had not lost hope even after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) failed to bring the perpetrator to justice. “It is really great of the CP to have done what he did”, she said.

ALSO READ | 1999 Odisha gangrape case: Prime accused Bibekananda Biswal held after 22 years

Recalling her ordeal in getting justice, the survivor said she was alone in her trauma and fight. “It was very painful. Every day of my life was a constant struggle. Back then my apartment was stoned by Congress workers, they attacked and tried killing me on multiple occasions, gave me rape threats. I went
through a very rough time with the police taking no action then”, she said.

She said that as long as the media was writing about the case, the police took strong action. “The moment the media forgot about the case, the investigators stopped taking the case seriously. The fight got tougher then”, the victim said, adding that the party workers would throw stones at her apartment every day.
“I was forced to vacate my own house because the political goons would not let me stay. I decided to shift to my mother’s place”, she recalled.

“Amidst all the pain and struggle, I had promised myself that I will never give up my fight for justice or put up with the injustice. No one should. We have to fight our own battles”, she said.


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