A day after a 15-year-old girl was allegedly raped and set ablaze at her home in a village in Greater Noida, Gautam Buddh Nagar police on Tuesday arrested an 18-year-old local in connection with the incident. Police said they are yet to record the girl’s statement due to her condition. With 95 per cent of her body covered with severe burn injuries, the girl is battling for her life.
Doctors at Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi, where she is undergoing treatment at the burns ICU, said she was in no state to give a statement to police. “She is very critical and the chances of infection are very high. We could not give permission to police authorities to record her statement yet,” said a senior doctor.
“A tracheostomy was performed on Tuesday, where an opening was made in her neck and a tube inserted to provide an airway to her windpipe. She has been put on oxygen support,” he added.
Doctors said the girl has started showing signs of infection in her blood stream and lungs. “She has been put on a high dose of antibiotics to control the infection,” said a doctor. She had sustained thermal burns across her body, barring the upper portion of her face.
While her family had given a history of sexual assault, doctors were unable to perform a medical examination due to the severe nature of her burns. Safdarjung Hospital PRO Poonam Dhanda said, “She is being administered oxygen. She is conscious but cannot speak due to her injuries. She continues to be very critical.”
Superintendent of Police (Rural) Abhishek Yadav said, “We have not been able to get a statement from her… her statement matters a lot at this point.”
Yadav added that two versions of the incident have emerged so far — one from the girl’s family and the other from the accused. “According to the girl’s family, the accused burnt her. But the accused said they had been seeing each other for nearly two years. Last year, they had even eloped and were brought back. The accused further said they had met that night and quarreled, following which the girl poured kerosene and set herself on fire. He said he could not watch her burning. We are exploring all angles and investigation is underway.”
Police have registered an FIR under IPC sections of rape, murder the POCSO Act.