The family of a 17-year-old girl who was found dead at her employer’s home in Model Town has alleged she called her uncle hours earlier and said she felt uncomfortable because her employer made the driver sleep in the same room as her. While police maintain the girl committed suicide and have initiated inquest proceedings, the family has been alleging foul play and pressing for an FIR.
On Friday, members of the family and some Delhi University students protested outside Model Town police station, following which police detained some members of the crowd. Ahan Joshua Penkar (24), a reporter with The Caravan magazine, has alleged he was among those detained and later beaten up by an ACP. Police have denied the allegation.
The maternal uncle of the girl, who was found hanging on October 4, claimed Saturday: “She told me her employer forced her to let the driver sleep in her room. I told her to come back but she said she will take care of the issue.” He claimed that a couple of hours later, he received a call from the girl’s employer about the alleged suicide.
The family alleged police have not filed a complaint despite them visiting the station every day. The uncle also claimed that October 9, police forced the family to perform a hurried cremation.
When contacted, DCP (Northwest) Vijayanta Arya denied the claims: “The body was cremated by family members at the cremation ground in Wazirpur. No foul play in her death has come to notice so far in the investigation.”
Arya also issued a statement on Saturday: “The girl worked for a 74-year-old widow and was found hanging from a bedsheet. Inquest proceedings were conducted; post-mortem examination was conducted on October 8 by a board of doctors at Safdarjung Hospital. According to the PM report, death occurred due to asphyxia as a result of antemortem hanging by ligature material and is suicidal in nature.”
On Friday’s protest, the statement read: “Some people protested outside the police station to put pressure on local police and tried to give a different narrative to the incident. The demonstrators were detained and a case was registered…”
A total of 10 people — seven college students, two locals and Penkar — have been booked under the Epidemic Act, Disaster Management Act and IPC sections 188 (disobeying a public servant) and 120B (criminal conspiracy), police said.
On allegations levelled by the journalist, Arya said, “Penkar was seen protesting and was detained along with others and later released. Later, he claimed to be from the press and alleged misbehaviour by police. The allegations made by him are false and it is only done to escalate the situation. The police action is bonafide and as per law.”
In a complaint to the Commissioner of Police S N Shrivastava on Friday night, Penkar had alleged, “… ACP Kumar kicked (me) on the face first and I fell to the ground… The ACP kicked me on my back and my shoulders… Also stamped my ankle.”
The magazine’s executive editor Vinod K Jose called the FIR against Penkar “bogus”, and said that he was “on duty as a journalist, covering a protest outside the police station”.
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