Relatives and a neighbour of a 26-year-old mentally and physically disabled unmarried woman were detained in central Kashmir's Budgam district after she delivered a baby recently.
Sub-divisional police officer (SDPO), Budgam's Khansahib town, Bashir Ahmad Dar, told HT that the case surfaced a few days ago when the parents of the girl accused the neighbour, Ghulam Muhammad War, of raping the disabled woman.
"War has been frequently visiting the victim's house. On April 4, parents observed that she was lactating. Fearing, it was a sign of breast cancer, the parents took her to a doctor where an ultra sound showed a live foetus," said SDPO Dar.
The woman, who is very bony and frail, delivered a baby on April 11. The family, who is from a very lower-middle class, claims the baby was born dead and secretly buried it near a canal in their native Arizal village, 40 km away from Srinagar.
The police investigation revealed the delivery was arranged at a house with the help of local maids.
"The relatives, instead of complaining the matter with the police, asked for compensation from the alleged rapist, who declined to pay later. It forced the family to approach the police eventually last week," said Dar.
The police have arrested the mother, the brother and the sister-in-law of the victim for their role in hiding the delivery of unmarried woman and burial of the baby.
The neighbour has been booked under Section 376 of the IPC for rape of the victim.
"We are investigating whether the baby, who after the exhumation was found apparently healthy, was born dead or was killed," said the police officer.
The police have taken a DNA sample to match it with the alleged rapist. "Several samples of the baby were sent for forensic examination to establish the cause of death," said the police officer.
The police said it will arrest the family members in case the forensic report suggests the baby was killed after the birth. "The victim has already identified War for raping her," said the police officer.
Dr Zubair Saleem, a local doctor, who examined the victim said, "The victim has no emotions. It's a gruesome crime."