Five men allegedly kidnapped a minor and then gang-raped and murdered her before dumping her body into a river in Gumla district in what police said on Tuesday was a gruesome act of revenge.
The main accused claimed responsibility for the crime saying it was 'revenge' on the victim's father for getting his friend arrested.
The incident took place under the Sadar police station in Gulma district, some 180 km west of the state capital of Ranchi.
According to the police, the five accused had kidnapped the 12-year-old girl on Saturday morning.
“The victim, a class seven student was kidnapped by five men when she had gone to feed the cattle on Saturday morning,” said officer-in-charge of Gumla police station Anil Kumar Sharma.
“They gang-raped and murdered the minor before throwing her body into the river.”
The main accused Raju Gope, a neighbour of the victim’s family, has claimed responsibility for the ghastly act, police said.
Gope had earlier blamed the victim’s father for the arrest of a friend and has since been trying to get back at the family.
Terming it as an act of revenge, police said, Gope had thrown a piece of paper inside the victim’s house in which he claimed responsibility for the crime.
"Gope, in his note, claimed that the girl’s gang-rape and murder was to avenge his friend’s arrest," said the police official.
Villagers had launched a search for the girl after she failed to return home on Saturday evening.
The girl’s body was recovered two days later from the bank of the Marda River, a few kms away.
An FIR has been lodged against the suspects. No arrests have been made so far.
Gope is absconding, police said. “We have sent the body for post-mortem and are investigating into the matter”, said Sharma.
The incident sparked protests in the area, with furious villagers blocking the Gumla-Simdega road for hours demanding the immediate arrest of the culprits.