Accused of raping a 14-year-old girl, Meghalaya's independent lawmaker from Mawhati, Julius Dorphang, was arrested from the outskirts of Guwahati last week. The militant leader turned politician had allegedly absconded from Shillong after a police case was filed against him and a court issued a non-bailable warrant. He has been remanded in judicial custody for five days.
The rape is being seen as a shame for the matrilineal society in Meghalaya, where the rising sex-rackets involving minors has been brought into spotlight by the high profile arrest.
"We have added more rigorous sections, including the POSCO Act," said Vivek Syiem, Superintendent of Police of Shillong City.
Dorphang, who co-founded the armed organisation HNLC and surrendered in 2007, was elected as a legislator six years later.
"There are many more who are indulging in all this, because without the involvement of big people, this kind of trafficking would not have flourished," said rights activist Agnes Kharsiiang.
Rape is the highest reported crime in Meghalaya where the matrilineal system exists among the dominant tribes.
According to Meghalaya Police Crime records, while only 26 rape cases were registered in 2001. The figure rose to 183 in 2013. In 2015, the number of cases have dipped to 93 but 60 per cent of the survivors are minor girls. Besides, 95 cases of molestation and sexual assault were registered that year.
Activists say the arrest of Julius Dorphang might be the tip of the iceberg and a proper investigation might lead to more influential people.
By: Ratnadip Choudhury | Source: NDTV