School records indicate that the minor girl, who was gang raped twice in October and set on fire two months later by her alleged rapists on the outskirts of Kolkata, was only 12 years old. This comes even as it emerged that the girl was pregnant when she succumbed to her burn injuries on December 31.
The girl’s school in Bihar’s Samastipur district has her date of birth as February 5, 2001, contradicting reports that say she was 16. School authorities confirmed her age to HT; she would have turned 13 next month.
The Bidhan Nagar police, on the outskirts of Kolkata, have sent the remnants of the foetus recovered during the minor’s post mortem examination to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory for a DNA test. Police officials told HT that they have collected blood samples of the accused – now under arrest – to determine who was responsible for impregnating her. “We have asked the CFSL to expedite the test,” said S Nimbalkar, additional deputy commissioner.
“What sort of people would perpetrate this kind of monstrosity on a 12-year-old girl?” was the refrain among tearful friends, who assembled for a condolence meeting at the school on Thursday.
The girl’s grandfather used to be a tram driver in Kolkata and her father went to the city about 15 years ago in search of a livelihood. “The child and her mother used to shuttle between the village and Kolkata till a few months ago,” a villager told HT.
The half-built house, where the mother and child stayed during their visit to the village, still stands. “After the rape, the entire family lived here till mid-November, apparently to escape further torment at the hands of the rapists,” said another villager.
Thereafter, thinking the matter had cooled, they returned to Kolkata. It proved fatal for the minor child.
Several hundred activists protested in Kolkata and New Delhi on Thursday, accusing the West Bengal government and police of failing to act swiftly after the girl lodged her initial complaint.
“We strongly believe that if your government had acted against the criminals... the subsequent horrific events would have been prevented and the young woman’s life could have been saved,” the All India Democratic Women’s Association, who organised the protest, and other activists, wrote in a letter to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Bannerjee.
(With agency inputs)