The arrest of a 20-year-old man, who police say has confessed to sexually assaulting and murdering eight minor girls over the last two years, has brought a sense of closure to a roadside vendor and his family in Gurgaon.
It has been almost two years since his five-year-old daughter became the second victim of the accused, although her family only became aware of his identity and criminal past two days ago.
The child had disappeared on January 5, 2017, from a temple in the city, where she had gone with her grandmother and sister to take prasad.
According to the FIR registered that night, the girl was last seen around 6-7 pm, when she got up after eating and told her grandmother she was going to relieve herself. Twenty days later, her body was found inside a sewer near Rajiv Chowk. The post-mortem confirmed sexual assault and indicated she had been strangled.
“We hail from Madhya Pradesh, but I have been living in Gurgaon for over 20 years. I was driving a rickshaw back then but I was so shaken I decided to switch professions. I could stay closer home and keep an eye on my other daughter that way,” said the victim’s father.
“Police called me and said he has done this with several other children. A man like that should not be allowed to walk free; he will do the same with other people’s daughters. We want him to be hanged or for his hands and legs to be broken so he can’t do such a thing again,” he said.
Targeted the poor and vulnerable
A labourer in Gurgaon, who hails from Jhansi and whose five-year-old daughter was the accused’s first victim, said, “Men like him should be hanged. Our daughter was not just murdered; she was made to go through hell before that.”
The child had disappeared on November 24, after her mother, a domestic help, dropped her at a temple in Gurgaon on her way to work. The girl was supposed to eat prasad and return to her shanty, but her parents returned to find her missing.
Her body was found two days later in a vacant plot near Omaxe mall on Sohna road, with the autopsy confirming she had been raped and “asphyxiated”.
Police said both incidents were among the eight the accused confessed to, and are in line with his modus operandi —targeting minor girls who came unaccompanied to eat at bhandaras or temples. He would lure them away from the crowd under some pretext, and sexually assault them before committing the murder. He committed the most recent crime on November 11, when he allegedly raped and murdered a three-year-old in Gurgaon.
Following the incident, police personnel in plain clothes had been posted at various bhandaras and temples, with police themselves organising three bhandaras in the hope of trapping the accused, who was eventually arrested from Uttar Pradesh.
The parents of the 20-year-old’s last victim, meanwhile, said they are thankful to the children who saw her being lured away, and a CCTV camera that showed him leading the girl into a vacant room where she was raped and murdered.“Police told us he did this to other children too. It must have been difficult for them to move on. He should be hanged,” said her father.
Apart from Gurgaon, police said the accused has confessed to raping and murdering three girls in Delhi and one each in Gwalior and Jhansi. “Today, he was taken to two of the three spots in Gurgaon for identification,” said Subhash Boken, PRO
of Gurgaon police. Delhi DCP (south) Vijay Kumar said: “We came to know about one such incident in Delhi and will send our team to Gurgaon to get details.”
Sumit Kumar, DCP (Crime), added: “Police teams have been dispatched to Delhi, Jhansi and Gwalior to get more details.”