No evidence: Hyderabad police close case of Jain teen who died after 68-day fast
The Hyderabad police have closed the case of Aradhana Samdariya, a 13-year old Jain girl from Hyderabad, whose death after 68 days of fasting created nation-wide sensation, for want of evidence.
This was conveyed by the Secunderabad Market police in a communication handed over to Andhra Pradesh Child Rights Committee on Saturday night. According to the letter, a report was submitted to the X Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court, Secunderabad, stating that the case filed by the association was false, non-cognizable, mistake of fact, undetected and lacked evidence. “Hence, the action was dropped on February 28,” the letter said.
The Secunderabad-based teen died in the early hours of October 3 last year, less than three days after ending her 68-day fast under the ‘tapasya’ ritual practised by her community. She was declared “brought dead” at a private hospital and doctors said she had died of cardiac arrest, caused probably by an imbalance in salts.
On a complaint from the Child Rights Committee, the Secunderabad Market police registered an FIR on October 9 against Aradhana’s parents Lakshmichand Samdaria and Manisha, under Section 304 (2) of the Indian Penal Code (Culpable homicide not amounting to murder), besides Section 75 Juvenile Justice Act.
“We have done thorough investigation in all the angles. We have called for the report from the authorities of the hospital where Aradhana was brought dead. We also sought a second opinion from a team of doctors from the Government Gandhi Hospital, Secunderabad on what could have led to her death. And we could not find any evidence to prove that her parents had forced her to do tapasya,” Hyderabad North Zone Deputy Commissioner of Police B Sumathi told Hindustan Times.
The police told the child rights committee that if it had any objections on closure of the case, it could approach the court within a week. “This is atrocious. Instead of framing the charges against the parents under Section 302 (murder) of the IPC, the police had conspired with the Jain community and closed the case without proper investigation. We will continue the legal battle,” child rights committee honorary president P Achyuta Rao said.
Lakshmichand and Manisha, who went into hiding for a few weeks immediately after Aradhana’s death hit the national headlines, moved the Hyderabad High Court on November 15 seeking anticipatory bail fearing arrest by the police. However, the court refused to grant them bail. However, on November 15, the same High Court, acting on a quash petition by Jain Seva Sangh, stayed the arrest of the girl’s parents while asking the cops to complete the investigation at the earliest.
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