The family of the 13-year-old Dalit girl, who was allegedly raped and killed in Gurgaon by a relative of their landlord, protested outside their house in Outer Delhi on Tuesday demanding the arrest of the landlord and his wife who they alleged are also involved in the crime.
Gurgaon Police said they arrested the relative, Praveen, on August 26 after police in Delhi informed them of the girl’s death. Sources said his wife was also detained for questioning but released later as the couple has a newborn baby. Meanwhile, the landlord and his wife left their Delhi home and are absconding. Other relatives are also being questioned for their role in the crime, said police.
According to the family, the teenager studied at a government school but dropped out after the lockdown as she couldn’t attend online classes. Her parents continue to live at their landlord’s place in a two-room set on the ground floor. The landlord’s family lived on the upper floors.
Since her death, the family have not left their three other children alone at home.
Speaking to The Indian Express, the girl’s mother, who works as a domestic help in the area, said: “I have two other daughters, aged nine and seven. What if something happens to them? Some of our employers are giving us food. I know my husband and I need to earn for our three children but what about their safety? Earlier, my eldest daughter used to take care of all her siblings and help them with their studies. She always helped me with household chores… she was smart and wanted to study.”
“We don’t have enough money or resources to shift to another place. I hate living here now, but we have no other option. We don’t know what happened to her in that house and won’t leave until we get justice. My children keep asking about their elder sister and I have no answer,” she added.
According to the girl’s father, the accused claimed the girl had died due to an illness and pressured him to cremate the body, until neighbours intervened and got him to call the police. The post-mortem report revealed that the girl, who had suffered severe injuries on her face and private parts, had been raped.
Doctors at Babu Jagjivan Ram Hospital, where the post-mortem was done, stated in the report that the girl died of “asphyxia consequent upon antemortem manual smothering”. The report stated that there is “positive evidence of vaginal and anal sexual assault” with all injuries being “antemortem” and “recent in duration”.
Speaking to The Indian Express, the victim’s father, who is a daily wage labourer, said on July 17, on the recommendation of the landlord who “was like family”, he had allowed his daughter to go with the arrested accused Praveen to work at his home in Gurgaon. Around 3 pm on August 23, he claimed he got a call from the landlord, saying his daughter had died of food poisoning. Four hours later, Praveen, the landlord’s wife, and two others brought the girl’s body in a private ambulance to Delhi, he claimed.
“We tried contacting them (Praveen) several times… My wife last spoke to our daughter two weeks ago. She said she was doing well and playing with other kids in the area. When we tried contacting her again, Praveen’s family cut our call or told us she’s playing,” claimed the father.
On Tuesday morning, Congress members and workers met the family and assured them of justice.