A group of armed robbers allegedly barged into a house, assaulted a couple and gangraped their 12-year-old daughter after dragging her to a nearby field on the outskirts of Lucknow Tuesday night.
The father, a 35-year-old carpenter, was asleep with his wife, daughter and two sons inside their one-room house in Salempur Pataura village of Para police station area when a group of men knocked on the door at around 1 am. When the family did not open the door, the men broke it and forced their way in.
“There were five persons who came inside. They were carrying an iron rod and a banka (axe). They started hitting my father and mother. We hid in a corner,” said the carpenter’s eight-year-old son.
Neighbours who came out of their houses to help were scared by the robbers, who also fired gunshots. The carpenter and his wife managed to escape after a while and ran out into the open, followed by their sons. The robbers then allegedly carried the minor girl to a field a few metres away and gangraped her. The girl was found there after a police team reached the area and searched for her along with her parents and neighbours.
The carpenter said he had called the police from inside the room when the robbers were trying to break the door latch, and called again after he managed to escape.
“The second time I called, the police were on their way. I had called the police and my elder brother at the same time, and both reached in about half an hour, but the robbers had escaped by then,” he said.
A neighbour said: “I had stepped out of the house on hearing them scream, but the robbers fired their weapons. There was no electricity at the time, so I came back inside and reached my house’s roof so that I could hit them with bricks if possible.”
The family also complained that the robbers had taken Rs 2,000 cash as well as some jewellery and cookware. An FIR under Sections 376D (gang-rape), 395 (dacoity) and 397 (dacoity with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt) of the IPC, and relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) has been lodged at Para police station.
The carpenter said his family had no dispute with anyone, and is one of the poorest in the area. He said his daughter, who had not been able to keep up with her studies because the family moved constantly in search of work, had recently started going to class III at the village school.
The girl, who suffered injuries on her face and back, and the father who suffered injuries on his shoulder were both taken to a city hospital for a medical examination and treatment. Lucknow SSP Manzil Saini said foreign material found on the minor victim’s body was collected and sent for forensic examination. She said the photographs of a few suspects were shown to the family, but none were identified.
“As of now, it is a blind case and we are investigating,” she said.
The family had shifted from Unnao for work about two years ago. About one and a half years ago, they built a one-room house in a field a little distance away from the main village. There are about five separate houses in the area. In 2013, a house had been robbed in a somewhat similar manner by unidentified persons whom police failed to identify or find, while another house had been burgled in 2015, residents said.
A neighbour, Raj Kumar, said his house was attacked on February 28, 2013 when a group of men locked the doors of all the houses in the vicinity and took valuables from his house after assaulting his son and daughters.
“An FIR was lodged, but police could not find anyone. Last year around Diwali, a gang had entered another neighbour’s house and escaped with valuables as the family had gone out that day,” he said.
As the houses are situated a few hundred metres away from the connecting road and main village, it is not easy to reach them by vehicle.
“After the robbery at my place, police team used to visit here sometimes. They stayed around and the locality became safer. They stopped coming over the last several months, and it has now returned to the same state. We now have to stay awake all night,” he said.
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