The Indirapuram police arrested two persons for allegedly setting fire to shanties during a candle march on February 13, in which residents were demanding that the police trace 12-year-old Archie Yadav immediately and book those responsible.
Archie was traced to Kangra in Himachal Pradesh on February 14 and has been brought back home.
The police said that two shanties of daily wage workers and domestic helps were burned down in the incident. One of the victims had lodged a case in this regard. The police had registered an FIR under section 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy) of IPC.
On Monday, the police arrested two Indirapuram residents — Rajendra Pathak and Ravi Prakash Tripathi.
“Both were found to be involved in the incident and were also part of the protest carried out for the missing girl. Both have been arrested,” PK Tripathi, station house officer, Indirapuram, said.
Sayeeda Khatoon, a domestic help whose house was burnt down in the incident, said that locals and police had already visited her house to look for the girl.
“There were 10 men and two women who came with the police. The police asked me about the girl and I told them I did not know anything about her whereabouts. When the police left, someone shouted ‘sher a gaya... sher a gaya’ (there’s a lion in the area) and everyone ran towards their homes. I also entered my house where my five-year-old daughter was sleeping. Then I heard someone shout about a fire and I came out to notice that my house was set ablaze. I pulled my daughter out but all my belongings were burnt down,” she said.
“Had I not pulled her out, my daughter would have been burnt alive. Others also ran to save their children. We came here to earn a livelihood and had saved some money for my other daughter’s marriage. This also got burnt. The police had spotted a motorcycle on the road during the fire incident,” she said.
Khatoon is from Bihar and is now staying with her relatives. Her husband works in Mumbai.
Archie’s family members said that they did not know Tripathi. “Pathak is an acquaintance and was helping us trace the child. We do not know the other person (Tripathi). He may have come to inquire about the girl. We don’t know anything about shanties being set on fire. We were only trying to find the girl,” Subhash Yadav, Archie’s father, said.
Archie’s family says that the girl was hypnotised and abducted by two women, while the police are conducting an investigation. “She has not told us anything more about the two women,” Subhash said.
On February 13, Archie’s mother had locked her inside the flat while she went out to fetch her other daughter from a nearby bus stop. When she returned around 20 minutes later, the keys were found on the staircase and the girl was missing. Footage from a CCTV camera in the vicinity showed the girl running out of her house.