A day after a 14-year-old girl was shot dead in Peedal village, 25km from Kaithal, the police have accused Jagdev Singh, a 20-year-old distant cousin of the victim, of the murder. Even as he remains at large, a local youth named Sandeep Kumar, 20, whose motorbike was allegedly used in the crime, has been arrested. The motive remains unclear.
While Class-8 student Shikha had died on the spot, her 17-year-old friend Amandeep Kaur, a student of Class 12, had suffered injuries when a man with his face covered had shot at them as they were going to school on Wednesday morning.
Jagdev has a criminal history, and was arrested in a case of attempt to murder a doctor in Kaithal town and also sentenced to one-year imprisonment in a case of planning to commit robbery.
Superintendent of police Kuldeep Singh explained how Jagdev's role was revealed. "Some villagers saw the word 'Seeda' (denoting a Jat sub-caste) written on the bike used in the crime. Our search late Wednesday night led us to the bike's owner, Sandeep, who named Jagdev."
Sandeep reportedly told the cops that Jagdev had borrowed his bike without telling him the reason. "But we will examine Sandeep's role. The local court has given us his custody till November 12," said the SP, adding that special teams had been constituted to arrest Jagdev.
He clarified that there was no evidence to back some villagers' theory that two motorbikes had been used in the crime.
However, the mystery behind the murder persists, as the families of both girls have not raised suspicion on anyone. Shikha's father Nanak Singh, a bus driver with a private contractor, said he was unable to understand why Jagdev could have killed his daughter. "Jagdev is the son of a cousin of mine who also stays at Peedal. I had hardly ever met Jagdev in the last several years. His conduct was always irresponsible, but our family did not have anything to do with him as such."
Meanwhile, Amandeep, who was operated upon at Government Rajindra Hospital in Patiala on Wednesday night for injuries on her wrist, was reported to be in a stable state.