Living on the outskirts of the capital, the tales of parents whose children were allegedly sexually assaulted and murdered by 24-year-old Ravinder Kumar are eerily similar. In all cases, their children “suddenly disappeared”. When their bodies turned up, the parents said, “No one listened or cared”.
Last year, Kumar had been arrested for assaulting a minor boy in Begumpur. He had abducted the boy near his house, allegedly sodomised him, slit his throat and fled. The boy survived. Police rescued him from a septic tank of an under-construction building. Unusually quiet, the seven-year-old still bears a gruesome scar on his neck.
“I had woken up at 2.30 am that night and found that my boy was missing. I raised alarm after I didn’t find him anywhere. Police found him bleeding in the septic tank. Since then, I have always been worried that the man who took him away was still out there, waiting. It was luck that we found him. We are poor people. Who cares about us? My boy barely talks about the attack. I don’t blame him,” his mother said. Her husband is a labourer.
Kumar was arrested after the child’s abduction. But in most other cases, the parents never found out what happened to their children. Until Kumar’s arrest, they lived with the fact that their children had died horribly, yet not knowing who to blame.
Last year, a two-year-old girl was abducted and killed in Badli. Police believe she was raped and killed by Kumar. But her parents had little idea what happened to their daughter. “She was playing outside. It was a Sunday during Navratri. I was making tea. When I went outside, she wasn’t there anymore. I called police and raised alarm. But nobody had seen her,” her mother said.
The girl’s father, a labourer, said the body was discovered in a drain near their house. “I was asked to identify the body in hospital. It was my daughter. Since then, I think of her every night. We don’t have money to hire rich lawyers and fight our cases. The man who killed her should be hanged,” he said.
The parents of the six-year-old girl for whose rape and murder Kumar was eventually arrested on July 16 similarly demanded strict punishment. “Anyone who can prey on young children like this isn’t fit to live. Police found her body in an abandoned building. I can’t imagine how much she suffered before she died,” her father said.