Residents of Rian Sadan chawl at Saki Naka, while feigning ignorance about the rape of a minor girl who lived in the building, believe the accused have been framed.
“I learnt about it when the police came here on Sunday evening. I was shocked. Nothing like this has happened here in the 35 years since I came to live here,” said a neighbour in her 40s, on condition of anonymity.
Another woman, in her 50s, said the victim’s aunt had told her she was to leave for their native village for a religious event.
All the women in the chawl were waiting for her to return. “We were very surprised when she returned in a police vehicle,” she said.
The neighbours swear by the conduct of the accused.
“They [accused] are good people. Even a 71-year-old man has not been spared,” said Suhas Gaikwad, a local.
Residents of the building said the victim has been living with her aunt since she was born, and often took part in the area’s social and religious programmes.