November 16, 2021 1:43:33 am
Investigations into the alleged suicide of the 19-year-old student whose body was found inside one of the coaches of the Gujarat Queen in Valsad on November 4, have indicated that she was at the Surat railway station a day before.
The Valsad Railway police checked over 400 CCTV footage from railway stations and state transport depots in Vadodara, Surat, Navsari and Valsad and found that she was at the Surat railway station on November 3.
Police said she might have boarded the Gujarat Queen from Surat around 10.30 pm to go to Navsari where her parents stay, but her body was found hanging inside the D-12 coach of the train that terminates at Valsad.
The Gujarat Queen leaves Valsad at 5.30 am and reaches Ahmedabad at around 11 pm. The same train leaves Ahmedabad and returns to Valsad at around 12.30 am. The train lands in Surat at around 10.30 pm.
Sources in Valsad railway police station, where a case of accidental death has been registered, said that the statements of her parents and younger brother were taken. The family, originally from Uttar Pradesh, migrated to Navsari around 30 years ago. Her 52-year-old father, who is a professional painter, told The Indian Express that his daughter left Vadodara on October 31 and went to Surat by train with a friend.
“She took a state transport bus from Surat to Navsari where I received her. While at home, we found her behaviour had changed… she was quiet. But she did not tell us anything. On November 3, she told us that she was going to meet her friend at Maroli from where she would return the following day. On November 4 afternoon, Valsad railway police called us inform that she was found dead,” he said.
A cleaning staff spotted the body and intimated the RPF and GRP police at Valsad railway station. A postmortem was held at SMIMER hospital in Surat.
According to police, the investigating team also found a personal diary from her bag, in which she mentioned about being gang-raped by two youths at Old Padra road in Vadodara, after which a bus driver and another person helped her to reach her paying guest accommodation in Gotri area. She was doing a fellowship with an NGO, police said.
A senior officer of Vadodara police said, “Based on her description, the FSL has gathered samples for tests. We have also questioned a bus driver, who is said to have helped the girl…”
The official said CCTV footage has shown two men trying to flee the ground around the time the crime took place but it is not established if they are the accused. “We have put our human intelligence netwok on alert to tip off about the suspects. A few have also been rounded up and we are working with other investigating teams,” the official said.
“She has mentioned that two autorickshaw drivers abducted her and raped her. The next day, she returned to her house in Navsari for Diwali and told her mother that she had to go out for some work… her body was found later. We are awaiting medical and FSL reports to confirm the allegation of rape,” said BS Jadav, deputy superintendent of railway police.
According to Jadav, the text messages the victim had sent to her acquaintance in a Vadodara-based social organisation, where she worked while completing her education, are also being probed.
Jadav said, “At this point, we do not have enough evidence to say if she was raped or if she even hanged herself or was murdered. We are investigating all angles and have sought help from the Vadodara city crime branch. The diary is not a suicide note, it is her regular personal diary.”
According to police, the victim was a second year BA student and worked as a volunteer with an NGO. Her mother works in a photo copy centre near their house in Navsari while her younger brother was pursuing graduation in Navsari.
Her father said, “My daughter had scored 80 per cent in Class 12 and loved to help others, especially girls. She once told me that she does not want to do any job, but wanted to set up an NGO for girls and women.”
(With inputs from Aditi Raja in Vadodara)
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