Three days after a minor tribal girl was gang-raped in Kharivili village of Wada tehsil in Thane district, the four rapists were arrested on Thursday.
The 15-year-old is the daughter of an adivasi brick-kiln worker who lives alongside the kiln on the outskirts of the village.
Activist Vijay Jadhav of Shramjeevi Sanghatana said the girl had gone to a circus at Kharvili village on Sunday night with some neighbours. Among them was an 18-year-old boy, whose family did not approve of their friendship.
She returned around 9pm and after dinner, went to relieve herself outside when the boy’s brother Ravindra Mukane and three of his friends dragged her to a field 30 metres away. “They hit her with bricks when she resisted and after she lost unconsciousness, they raped her and then abandoned her,” the police said.
She was found unconscious in the field the next morning and rushed to the hospital. The Wada police only lodged a case of non-cognisable offence of assault and no tests for rape were carried out.
Police inspector Sanjay Dhumal said, “If she had said she was raped, we would have acted accordingly.”
The shocked girl told her parents of the incident on Wednesday.
The doctors and the police did not conduct a medical examination despite her saying that she had been detained against her will and attacked. “Unless the police tell us to, we cannot conduct a test for rape,” said Dr Vasant More of the Wada hospital.
The girl has been shifted from the Wada Rural Hospital to the Civil Hospital in Thane due to her critical condition. The rapists were arrested under sections 336a (abducting a minor for forced sex) and 376g (gang rape) of the IPC.
MLA and activist Vivek Pandit, who has worked with tribal brick kiln workers for over three decades, said: “The doctor-in-charge and the police were negligent in not getting a medical test done.”