Six-year-old missing girl found dead in Chandigarh
A six-year-old girl, who went missing after leaving her home to play on Friday evening, was found dead in the forest area adjoining Hallomajra in Chandigarh on Saturday morning.
Police have apprehended a 12-year-old neighbour, who is suspected to have sexually assaulted her before bludgeoning her to death.
“The 12-year-old boy took the girl on his cycle. He later killed her by hitting her on the head with a stone,” said Kuldeep Singh Chahal, senior superintendent of police, Chandigarh.
After a night-long search, police had found the girl’s half-naked body around 8am on Saturday. The stone used to kill her was also recovered from near the crime scene. The postmortem report is awaited.
The boy has been booked under Sections 302 (murder) and 363 (kidnapping) of the Indian Penal Code.
A senior official investigating the case said the juvenile had murdered the girl after he got scared that she might tell her parents that he had taken her to the forest area. Police are awaiting the postmortem report to confirm whether the girl had been sexually assaulted before the murder.
In 2020, Chandigarh had reported 41 cases of sexual assault on minors. According to the latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report, 65 minors were raped in the city in 2019. Meanwhile, police had apprehended eight juveniles for rape that year.
Child had left to play
The girl studied in the nursery class. She is survived by her parents and two younger siblings – a three-year-old brother and one-year-old sister. They live in Hallomajra.
Her father, who works in a factory, told police that his wife was at home with their youngest daughter when the six-year-old left to play with other children in the neighbourhood on Friday afternoon. She was supposed to go for a tuition from there at 5pm.
When his wife came to know that the girl had not reached the tuition, she went out to look for her. The girl’s friends told her that she had not even turned up to play. The woman then called her husband, and the two started searching for the child.
Police were informed at 8:30pm, and a case of suspected kidnapping was registered at night. Police searched the area, including parts of the forest, till about 3am, but could not trace the child. The body was spotted in the morning, when the search was resumed and the entire forest area was covered.
CCTV footage help nail boy
There are around five families that live in the building where her family resides. The child was last spotted around 4pm on a street near the building.
While scanning the area’s CCTV footage, police spotted the girl being taken on a cycle by a 12-year-old neighbour. He was soon apprehended.
Earlier, area residents along with a student organisation blocked the Chandigarh-Delhi highway near Hallomajra in the afternoon. They were demanding justice for the victim.
The protest led to a traffic jam on the busy highway, and police had to divert the traffic coming from Zirakpur. Some of the protesters were also detained after they pelted stones at cops, leaving a few with bruises.