Twenty-five days after an eight-year-old girl was murdered, possibly raped, and her face crushed beyond recognition, the police have made no arrest in the case and, according to members of her family, are trying to pin the crime on them.
The victim’s semi-naked body was found in Rabupura village, 50 km from Delhi, on November 26. Her blood-stained undergarments lay a short distance away. A case was registered the same day. Her family claims that doctors told them she had been raped and strangled with her own salwar, but the autopsy report made no mention of rape. Following protests by locals, the administration has sent her viscera to a forensic lab in Lucknow and the report is awaited.
The father, who runs a dhaba, alleged that instead of hunting for the killer, the police were trying to frame the family. “They call my four minor daughters and wife to the police station and question them till midnight. They are pressuring us to admit one of us killed her for property. But we have no property. They want us to take back the case but I will fight.”
“The police keep asking about our parents’ relationship,” said the victim’s elder sister, 12. “She was kidnapped, raped and killed like the medical student in a moving bus a year ago. But that incident took place in Delhi and we are in a remote village in Greater Noida, which is why no one is ready to listen to us.”
The villagers called off their protest for a week on December 13 on sub-divisional magistrate Anju Lata’s request and assurance that the police would investigate the case. The deadline ends on Friday and local leader Dhirendra Singh said, “If the administration fails to deliver, we will resume our protest.”
Listing the cops’ alleged failures, the family claimed that they declared the body unclaimed without inquiring from locals, were late in calling the dog squad that eventually found the bloody undergarments, and sent a forensic team to the village a full week late, by which time the crime scene had been contaminated.
The Gautam Budh Nagar police station refuted the allegations. “We have set up a dedicated team and detained two men for questioning. As villagers were protesting outside the police station, the team could not investigate. We are seeking time from the family and we will arrest those behind it,” said SP (rural) Brijesh Singh.
The girl was last seen at a neighbourhood wedding the family attended on November 25. “I woke up the next morning to get the kids ready for school and only then noticed she was missing,” the father said.
“While looking for her, someone told me the body of a girl was lying in front of Mohit hospital. But before I could see it, the police sent it to the district hospital, claiming it was unidentified. After I insisted, they showed me a mobile phone photo and I identified her from her clothes as her face had been crushed.”
He claimed that at the hospital, doctors conducting the post-mortem told him his daughter had been brutally raped. “But the medical report failed to mention it. I am shocked the police are insisting she wasn’t raped. She was strangled with her salwar, her undergarments were missing from her body,” he said.