Dalit girl’s alleged rape-murder: Medical board to conduct autopsy, Rahul and Kejriwal condemn incident
New Delhi: A board of three doctors will conduct an autopsy of the charred remains of a Dalit 9-year-old girl who was allegedly raped and murdered on Sunday by four people at a crematorium near Delhi Cantonment in south-west Delhi, even as protests by family members and political activists over the incident continued for the third day on Tuesday.
The accused, including 55-year-old priest of the crematorium, were booked under sections pertaining to rape, murder and threatening charges, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the SC/ST Act. They were sent to jail. Though the accused have maintained that the girl died of electrocution while fetching water from an electric cooler, the family have alleged that the suspects hurriedly cremated the body after frightening the family off from informing the police about her death.
Demanding death penalty for the four men and speedy justice through a fast-track court, the parents of the girl and nearly 200 people, including local residents, politicians and social activists, are protesting on Pankha road, close to the crematorium.
On Tuesday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tagged a Hindi news clip reporting the incident and tweeted, “Dalit ki beti bhi desh ki beti hai (A Dalit’s daughter is also the daughter of the country).”
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said he will meet the family members of the girl on Wednesday. “The murder of a 9-year-old innocent in Delhi after her rape is shameful. There is a need to improve law and order in Delhi. The culprits should be given capital punishment at the earliest. Going to meet the victim’s family tomorrow, will do everything possible to help the family in this fight for justice,” Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi.
At the protest, the girl’s mother alleged that the accused locked her inside the crematorium and cremated her daughter’s body without her consent. “They offered me money, asked me to return home and not tell anyone what all happened at the crematorium,” she said.
The girl’s father said they will continue to protest until the culprits were hanged. “The priest and the other three men raped and killed my daughter and cremated her body to hide their gruesome crime. We want them to be hanged till death for what they did to our daughter. Till then, we will continue our protest to demand justice for my daughter,” the father said, sitting on a makeshift stage that has been set up in the middle of the Pankha Road.
The girl’s mother also alleged that her husband was locked in a room and assaulted by a man named Naresh in the presence of the cops at the Delhi Cantonment police station, late on Sunday night. However, the police refuted the allegations, saying no such assault took place, and added that Naresh is a relative of the couple. They said the girl’s parents were called to the police station for counselling and completing the legal formalities.
Among the politicians who visited the protest site on Tuesday were Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad alias Ravan and Aam Aadmi Party’s Mangolpuri legislator Rakhi Birla, who is also the deputy speaker of Delhi assembly.
“I have come to meet the family and enquire about the entire incident. It’s a horrible case that cannot be expressed in words. What we saw in Hathras (UP) last year has been repeated in the national capital. Our team of lawyers will fight the case. We will make sure the girl’s family gets speedy justice and a strong message is sent that atrocities on women and children will not be tolerated,” said Azad.
The child, who lived with her parents in a rented house near the crematorium, went to fetch water from the water cooler installed at the crematorium around 5.30pm on Sunday. Half an hour later, the priest and the three men called the girl’s mother and showed her the child’s body, the police said.
“They told her that the girl was electrocuted to death while having water from the cooler... asked her to not inform the police about the death. They told her that the police will register a case and the body will be sent for an autopsy, during which doctors will remove her vital organs and sell them. The four then cremated the body,” said deputy commissioner of police (south-west) Ingit Pratap Singh.
Police said the mother’s statement before a magistrate was recorded on Monday where she did not make the rape and murder allegations. In the evening, her statement before the SC/ST commission was recorded and she accused the four men of raping and killing her daughter and cremating her body.
“Initially, the case was registered under culpable homicide not amounting to murder, wrongful confinement and destruction of evidence. After the girl’s mother statement before the SC/ST commission, we added rape, murder and threatening charges under revenant sections of Indian Penal Code and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act in addition to the SC/ST Act. There was no delay in police action,” said joint commissioner of police (New Delhi) Jaspal Singh.
The police have identified the accused as Radhey Shyam, the 55-year-old priest of the crematorium, and three employees Salim,55, Laxmi Narayan,49, and Kuldeep,63.
Many women protesters, who were carrying placards seeking justice for the girl whom they named Gudiya, demanded that the case be transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for further probe.