Police in Chhattisgarh found themselves in the dock after a judicial commission probing the alleged gang-rape and killing of a poor tribal girl some years ago pinned the blame for her death on them.
The rape and killing of the 16-year-old girl in July 2011 in Navadih village of Sarguja about 350 km north of capital Raipur had rocked the state, forcing the Raman Singh government to constitute a one-member judicial commission to investigate the incident.
The commission’s 45-page report tabled in the Chhattisgarh assembly earlier this week said Meena Khalkho had been “killed by a police bullet.”
The report also rejected the police claim that the girl was a Maoist who was “habituated to sex.”
“The police encounter story is not acceptable. The police department or any other source had not produced before the commission any information or evidence that can establish that Meena Khalkho was a Maoist or she supported the rebels”, the report stated.
The commission headed by District and Sessions Judge Anita Jha further stated that “injuries detected on the victim’s body…suggested forced sexual intercourse with her.” It could not, however, ascertain whether she had been raped by one or more than one person and who they were.
Meena’s father Budheshwar Khalkho had always held the police responsible for the rape and murder. “I had always maintained she was picked up by the police, gang-raped and murdered,” he claimed.
The opposition Congress seized on the report to try and embarrass the BJP government. “Unless the case is given to the CBI, the guilty policemen will continue to roam freely in uniform,” state Congress president Bhupesh Baghel said.
The parliamentary affairs minister Ajay Chandrakar told HT the report has been handed over to the state Crime Investigation Department (CID). “Under what circumstances Meena was shot dead remains a matter of further inquiry and research”, the minister said.