From her small village near the Indo-Pak border in Barmer, the 17-year-old had travelled all the way to Bikaner to become a teacher. Her dream came to an end after she was allegedly raped and murdered by a teacher.
Two days after the Dalit girl’s body was found in the water tank of her college in Nokha near Bikaner on Tuesday, the police arrested a physical trainer and instructor (PTI) for allegedly raping her. Her parents also accused the teacher of murder.
While the police, prima facie, called it a case of suicide, the girl’s parents alleged that she was murdered and the body was later dumped in the water tank.
The girl, originally a resident of Trimohi village near Gadra Road, Barmer, was enrolled in a Senior Teaching Certificate (STC) course at the Jain Adarsh Teacher Training College in Bikaner’s Nokha town.
The girl’s father has named the chairperson of the college, Ishwar Chandra Baid, hostel warden Priya Shukla and Vijendra Singh, a physical trainer and instructor employed at another school run by the same group, but who used to live on the campus, in the FIR.
The second-year student used to live in a hostel inside the college campus. With the college closed for vacation, there were only four girls in the hostel at the time of the incident, the FIR said.
Around 8 pm on March 28, the girl called her father, telling him that warden Shukla had sent her to Vijendra’s room to clean it, and that Vijendra had raped her. Her father asked her to come to Nokha town the next day, but before they could meet her, he got a call from the police about her death.
“The rape was confirmed and the PTI was arrested yesterday. We presented him before the magistrate today and have taken him on five-day remand. The other two are yet to be arrested,” Bikaner SP (rural) Satnam Singh told The Indian Express. “There were no injury marks on her body so we cannot say if it was murder, but we are awaiting forensic results to ascertain the cause of her death.”
The college could not be reached for comment.
The medical board that examined the body could not ascertain the cause of death either, sources said.
Dalit rights activists alleged that the girl was raped, murdered and thrown into the water tank.
The girl’s father has accused the college administration of trying to hush up the matter, and even forcing her, along with Vijendra, to sign a written apology with a statement that the incident had happened with mutual consent.
“She was very bright and really wanted to study. When she was in Class VII, she was awarded by then chief minister Vasundhara Raje (during her previous term) for the painting of a camel that she made,” the father said.