The second accused in the alleged rape of a 17-year-old tribal girl from Dharmapuri district in Tamil Nadu has surrendered in neighbouring Salem district. Ramesh, 22, who has been absconding since November 5 when the crime took place, surrendered before the court of the Judicial Magistrate No. 2 in Salem.
Speaking to TNM, investigating officials confirmed that Ramesh surrendered around 12:30 pm on Monday. The district police have remanded the accused to the Central Prison in Salem. Ramesh’s surrender comes less than 24 hours after Satish, 22, the first accused in the alleged rape was arrested by the Dharmapuri police from a relative’s house in Yercaud.
Meanwhile, with doctors at the hospital terming it a medico-legal case, a post-mortem of the body was scheduled for Monday. However, confrontations between the police and social and political activists have reportedly delayed the post-mortem in Dharmapuri.
A week earlier on November 5, Nithya, a Class 12 student was allegedly raped by Ramesh and Satish when she entered the clearing near her home in order to answer nature's call. The two accused fled the spot after hearing her relatives near the spot. While Nithya informed her parents, who went on to lodge a complaint, the police, they say, refused to file a rape case, booking the two men for sexual assault instead. Days later, Nithya died at the Dharmapuri General Hospital after complaining of nausea and dizziness.
Her death on Saturday provoked outrage among several groups who have slammed the police and district authorities for inaction. Nithya’s parents, who work as daily wage labourers in Sitling village, have alleged that the local police demanded bribes in order for the police to drive to the tribal hamlet to take the girl for medical examination. This, a day after the alleged rape took place.
Following this allegation, district collector S Malarvizhi met Nithya’s family on Sunday and assured them that if found to be true, strict action would be taken on the police officials. The investigating officer probing the crime was also removed and replaced by inspector Lakshmi from Aroor.
However, protesting villagers and activists once again took to the streets on Monday, demanding the suspension of the police officials involved the allegations.