The lid over an alleged rape of a minor by a booth-level BJP leader was lifted on Friday after the 16-year-old victim was found pregnant by her family members at Khowai district of western Tripura.
The accused, Shyamal Sarkar, who is the president of Booth No 24 of Krishnapur constituency that is represented by BJP’s legislator Atul Debbarma and an influential leader in the locality is currently absconding.
In a police complaint (86/21) filed in Teliamura Police Station, the victim’s family members alleged that Sarkar had raped their daughter several times since eight months ago and their daughter is currently seven months into pregnancy.
The accused have been charged with section 376 for rape and 506 for criminal intimidation of Indian Penal Code and other sections of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
Police, however, suspect that family members had known about their child being pregnant since about 15-16 days ago and there were attempts of bribing the family members off from filing the complaint.
A source said, “The accused, after confronted by the family members, had offered Rs 40,000 as compensation. But, the family demanded higher.”
There also have been allegations that the victim may not have been raped and rather her pregnancy may have been a result of consensual sex.
“We have launched a manhunt to apprehend the accused. We are looking into every aspect of the case,” said police.
Consensual sex with a minor is a legal grey area on if it falls in the ambit of POCSO Onne hand, a judgment in 2013 by a City Court in Delhi rejected consensual sex with Minor to be crime as the state cannot dictate someone’s choice to engage in sexual activities as individual’s body is not a property of the state. The Bombay High Court in a judgment on February this year observed that “consent given by a minor is not considered valid”.