Police arrested 15 people, including the main accused, Dhanu Bhuiyan, in connection with the murder of a 16-year-old girl, who was set on fire by Bhuiyan after he was penalised by a Panchayat for allegedly raping her. The incident had occurred at a village under Itkhori police station area in Jharkhand Friday afternoon.
The arrested include the village head and a member of the Panchayat Samiti. “Following information, a team was sent to Behera village of Hazaribagh district from where Dhanu Bhuiyan was arrested. Further efforts are on to nab the other accused,” said a police officer.
According to police, Bhuiyan’s family members and relatives were arrested for their role in beating up the victim’s family members following the panchayat decision. IG (Headquarters) Shambhu Thakur, who was overseeing the probe, said, “The alleged offence was of compoundable nature. In such cases, a panchayat can’t decide the matter on its own. But a panchayat was not only held, but also announced a fine, which ultimately resulted in the murder. Therefore, the village head (Tileshwari Devi) and panchayat samiti member (Ranjay Rajak) are also among those arrested.”
“The victim had gone to attend her uncle’s wedding, where Bhuiyan spotted her and convinced her to accompany him. A cousin of the victim spotted them leaving. The accused dropped the victim back to the wedding venue. A word had spread about the girl having gone missing with a youth. The matter was referred to panchayat, which was held on Friday morning,” said a senior police officer.
“Bhuiyan had developed a friendship with the victim. When the panchayat was called, the accused and the victim accepted that they liked each other. The panchayat concluded that the family of the accused would have to pay a fine of Rs 50,000 and apologise. This led to an argument between the families. Bhuiyan went to the victim’s house, beat her up and set her afire after pouring kerosene over her,” said an officer.