A day after a girl (6) went missing from her village in this district, her naked body washed up on one of the Kali Bein banks on Wednesday near Kanjali village.
Ghukkar (22), village youth with whom she was seen last, is under arrest on a charge of drowning her in the rivulet, and sexual assault might be the next allegation after police have the autopsy report. He reportedly accepted his crime during police interrogation.
The Class-1 student was missing from Buta village near Subhanpur since Tuesday, and at 7pm that day, her parents took the matter to the Kotwali police, who opon a tip from the villagers, arrested the youth. Later, local divers searched all night and Wednesday morning for the body.
In the afternoon, village divers in a boat arranged by environmentalist Balbir Singh Seechewal found the body 4 kilometres from the girl's village. "It was naked, with the legs inside the water," said diver Dharam Singh, who was on that boat.
Carrying the body, people marched in protest through the village. "Police gave us no diver. It's villagers who located the body. Police just watched the operation," said the victim's parents.
Later, the villagers handed over the body to police for autopsy at the Kapurthala Civil Hospital.
"Police also found the victim's clothes from the bushes near the Kali Bein. Circumstantial evidence suggests that she was assaulted sexually before murder," said superintendent of police (detective) Diljinder Singh Dhillon.
Ghukkar is charged under Sections 364-A (kidnapping for ransom) and 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), so far.