Weeks after the Hathras horror, another Dalit girl was allegedly raped and strangulated in a village in Barabanki district on Wednesday. Her body was found in paddy field, according to her family. Police had initially filed a murder case against an unidentified person. Later, after the postmortem report confirmed sexual assault, the charge of rape under IPC section 376 was added to the FIR.
“On Wednesday, the FIR was registered under section 302 of the IPC. On Thursday, we have added section 376 (rape) of the IPC based on the postmortem report. We are questioning a few suspects after primary investigation,” said Additional SP (Barabanki) Ram Sewak Gautam told The Indian Express.
However, due to confusion over the girl’s age, police have not added the charges under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. While the family claimed that they told the police that she was 17 years old, police said that in their oral complaint the family had said that the girl was slightly above 18 years.
According to the girl’s father, she had left for the fields in the day to harvest the crop. “Around 5.30 pm, she had not returned home. I got worried and started looking for her. Around half an hour later, I went to the field and saw her slippers. A little ahead, I found her lifeless body,” the father told The Indian Express.
The victim was the eldest of four siblings. While her younger sister is around 15, her twin brothers are around seven.
“We received the information of a body found in a paddy field in the village under mysterious circumstances. We are collecting all the evidence and a team has been formed under Additional SP-rank officer. We will soon be able to crack the case,” said Additional SP Gautam who is currently holding the charge of SP in the district.
Asked about the discrepancies in the age of the victim and whether she was a major or minor, IG (Ayodhya Range) Sanjeev Gupta said it would have no bearing on the investigation.
Initially, the family had refused to cremate the body. But after an assurance from the police, the body was cremated on Thursday evening by her family members.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines