Patna: Five men murdered the father of a gang-rape victim in Jharkhand barely days after being released from jail on bail. The accused had warned the man against deposing in court, a demand he had ignored.

Family members said five men dragged the man out of his home at Goindi village in Jharkhand’s Palamu district, took him to an open field and beat him to death. The next morning his body was found hanging from the window of a local school.

According to family members, the accused had been exerting pressure on the villager to withdraw the rape case he had filed against them. However, he refused to relent and was done to death, they alleged.

Police have registered a case against five persons in connection with the murder of rape victim’s father and are conducting raids to nab the absconding accused persons. “We have registered a case on the basis of statement of his wife (who is also the mother of rape victim) and raids are on to nab the absconding accused persons,” a local police official in charge of investigation Ramchandra Mahato told the media on Saturday. The case was registered on Thursday.

The victim’s family members alleged that after the murder the accused had tried to prevent them from leaving the village, but they managed to escape and register a case with the Medininagar police station. The victim’s family has apprehended threat to their lives and sought police protection.

According to the rape victim’s mother, her teenaged daughter had gone out to attend a marriage function in the neighbourhood in 2015 when three villagers kidnapped her at gunpoint, took her to the local village school and gang-raped her. They warned her not to report the incident to her family.

Subsequently, her parents registered a case against the accused persons at the local police station after which all of them had been arrested and sent to jail. Barely a month back, the accused had come out on bail and begun threatening the rape victim’s father with dire consequences if he didn’t withdraw the case against them. But he refused to budge from his stand.

The incident comes amid the Union cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approving an ordinancefor death penalty for those convicted of raping children up to 12 years of age. The changes proposed in the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018 also include speedy investigation and speedy trials in such cases, increase in minimum quantum of punishment for rape convicts and scrapping of anticipatory bail if the victim is a minor.