Updated: September 24, 2021 7:16:08 pm
A priest at a crematorium and a factory worker have admitted to allegedly raping a nine-year-old girl because she was a Dalit, before forcibly cremating her once she died, it is alleged in the Delhi Police chargesheet. The chargesheet quotes witnesses who claim to have been told about the incident by the accused.
The testimony of a public witness, who recorded his statement before a Magistrate on August 27, is part of the chargesheet. Police have relied on two public accounts in preparing their case against the four accused – the priest Radhey Shyam (55) and three others, Kuldeep Singh (63), Laxmi Narayan (48) and Salim Ahmed (49).
The two witnesses claim to have spotted Shyam and Kuldeep carrying the body of the girl from one hall to another, but “did not suspect that anything was wrong” at the time.
However, the first witness said he got to know about the incident via a phone call later that evening from a local resident, who informed him that a Dalit girl had been raped and her body cremated. The witness told the court that he reached the crematorium, where a crowd had gathered and the body was being burnt on a pyre.
The witness has claimed the four accused asked for his help and said they had raped and murdered the girl, the statement read. As per the chargesheet, when the witness asked them why they did so, Shyam and Kuldeep answered that she was “a Dalit by caste, that’s why”.
The witness told the court that he, along with others, tried to douse the burning pyre with water but police lathi-charged them. The witness has named the local ACP, SHO and the IO of the case as the officers who were present at the spot.
The second public witness said he knew the victim for around five years and had also got a phone call in the evening informing him about the incident. On reaching the crematorium, he spotted Salim and asked him why they were cremating the girl against her parents’ wishes. The chargesheet states that the accused took him away from the crowd and said they had raped the girl and cremated her by mistake. They also sought his help, according to the statement given before the court.
The accused have maintained that the girl had died of electrocution while fetching water from a cooler but her family alleged that the suspects hurriedly cremated the body after raping her.
The police chargesheet, on the basis of Shyam’s disclosure statement, stated that the girl was sexually assaulted in the past as well and that she died due to suffocation while Shyam and Kuldeep raped her. The accused then cremated the girl and got rid of crucial evidence like the bedsheet used during the crime, a mobile phone used by Shyam to watch pornographic content, and the girl’s belongings, it is alleged in the chargesheet.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.