Pilibhit police on Wednesday arrested four persons, including a juvenile, in the rape and murder of an 8-year-old Dalit girl whose body was recovered from a sugarcane field a day after she went missing. While the juvenile is the one who allegedly raped and killed the girl, three others have been held for hiding information and destroying evidence.
Pilibhit Additional SP Ram Suresh Yadav told The Indian Express that the main accused confessed to his crime. The accused has claimed his age as 16 years, but police will verify this by conducting a medical test and checking documents.
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The main accused hails from Bareilly, while the other three – Totaram, his son Kamlesh and Rajaram – are residents of Katakbara village in Balkheda police station area. The village is adjacent to Khidkia, where the victim’s body was recovered.
During interrogation, the boy told police that he committed the crime when he had gone to his maternal uncle Rajaram’s house, according to the ASP. Rajaram, one of the co-accused, is a farmer in Katakbara and also a ‘chaukidar’ (village guard).
“It was on November 3, when the girl was returning from her house to school, that the boy caught her and overpowered her. He dragged her to a nearby cane field and raped and sodomised her before strangulating her to death. He left the body in the field, which belongs to Totaram of Rajaram’s village. Totaram came to his field later in the day and got scared after finding the girl’s body there. When he told Rajaram about what he found, the latter advised him and his son Kamlesh to shift the body to a field in adjacent Khidkia. We have booked Totaram and Kamlesh under IPC Section 201 (destroying evidence), while Rajaram has been booked under Section 120-B (conspiracy),” Yadav told The Indian Express.
Police laid hands on the suspects after some locals at Katakbara said they had seen the girl’s body lying in Totaram’s field. The cops picked up Totaram, who during questioning admitted to shifting the body on Rajaram’s suggestion.
While Rajaram was being questioned, his son Netrapal told police that his cousin from Bareilly had passed lewd comments on the same girl while she was going home that day.
“Netrapal informed us that his cousin had passed objectionable comments on the girl. Netrapal and Rajaram, along with the boy, were working in their field when it happened. Later, Rajaram and his son went home after finishing the work but the boy stayed back. It was when the girl was coming back to school that the boy dragged her into the field where she was raped and killed,” said the ASP.
Netrapal further told police that his cousin left their house that evening in a hurry, claiming his employer had called him immediately. He worked at a brick kiln as a labourer.
The body of the Dalit girl was recovered from the field in Bisalpur, Pilibhit, on Friday last week. The Class III student had gone missing Thursday morning after she was reportedly sent home alone by her teacher for failing to deposit her fees.