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Andhra couple claims minor found raped and murdered in Surat is their daughter

The body of the girl, believed to be between nine and 11 years old, was found with as many as 86 injury marks in a field at Pandesara in Surat city limits on April 6.

india Updated: Apr 18, 2018 06:56 IST
Shiv Sunny and Hiral Dave
Shiv Sunny and Hiral Dave
Hindustan Times, Surat/Ahmedabad
Surat rape,Rape victim,Surat
People take part in Not In My Name protest against the rape cases in Unnao and Kathua, at Parliament Street, in New Delhi, on Sunday.(Arvind yadav/HT Photo)

A couple from Andhra Pradesh has claimed that the minor found raped and murdered in Surat is their daughter, Gujarat police said on Tuesday.

“The couple has come with Aadhaar card of the victim. Police have started the procedure for their DNA test to establish their claim,” said Surat commissioner of police Satish Sharma. Police are verifying their claim.

The couple is from Prakasam district and has claimed their daughter went missing in October 2017, said police.

The body of the girl, believed to be between nine and 11 years old, was found with as many as 86 injury marks in a field at Pandesara in Surat city limits on April 6.

Having gone through around 8,000 complaints related to missing children from Gujarat and other states, Surat police had pasted posters in multiple languages across the city and on trains to Odisha and West Bengal.

The area where the body was recovered is an industrial belt and has a significant population of migrant workers.

Case tests police

When police sub-inspector NJ Panchal of Pandesara police station received a phone call from a man in Ahmedabad a week ago, he thought he had the first clue about the minor’s identity.

The caller told him the girl in the posters that the police had put up resembled his niece, whom he had not met or interacted with for many years. “The man said he was involved in a fight with his brother and hadn’t spoken to him or his family in years. He still wouldn’t speak to his brother, but was concerned about his niece,” said Panchal.

When Panchal called up the man’s brother, a Surat resident, he was told that the girl was by his side at home. The investigation was back to square one.

The case has raised the hopes of parents of many missing children. Police have had to convince many of them that the murdered girl could not be their child, and dealing with emotional distress has proved tough.

KB Jalla, station house officer (SHO) of Pandesara police station, said, “I have lost count of how many parents have called us up thinking the murdered girl is their missing child.”

Apart from the landline phone number of Pandesara police station, the posters of the girl also carry the mobile phone numbers of SHO Jalla and SI Panchal.

Panchal said, “Another couple called to say that their three-year-old daughter had gone missing. It took me a lot of effort to convince them that this girl was at least nine years old.” The callers include some parents whose children went missing five years ago.

The calls have been coming from states such as Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.

Many of these parents have heard of this case through the media and haven’t seen the pictures of the girl. Police have been asking callers to send pictures of their missing children through WhatsApp, and are sending them pictures of the Surat victim after ascertaining that it’s not the same girl. This leaves the parents with hope that their children may still be alive.

“Some of these callers already assume that it is their child. A woman called from Andhra Pradesh and began speaking in Telugu, wailing all the while. It took me a lot of time to communicate to her to give the phone to someone who could speak Hindi or English,” said Panchal.

In at least half-a-dozen cases where the image of the murdered girl appeared similar to those shared by callers, police called them to Surat.

First Published: Apr 17, 2018 23:00 IST