Nearly 22 hours after an 18-year-old left home — in eastern UP’s Lakhimpur Kheri district — with Class IX marksheet, Aadhaar card and less than Rs 200 to fill an online scholarship form, her body was found in a dry pond in her village early Tuesday morning, hardly 500 metres from her home.
The victim’s father and other villagers who saw the body said the teen’s throat was slit with a sharp weapon, and part of her left leg was eaten away by animals. Her marksheet and mobile phone were lying nearby, they said.
Superintendent of Police Satyendra Kumar said postmortem has confirmed rape, and the police have formed three teams to look for her killers.
The incident took place in a village dominated by Scheduled Caste families, with a population of about 2,000.
This is the second incident of rape and murder of a teenage Dalit girl in Lakhimpur Khiri district in less than a fortnight.
Sitting on the floor outside their un-plastered house, her parents, meanwhile, have only one demand: “Nyay chahiye (we want justice).”
Her father said, “Meri ladki nahi, ladka thi. Agar kisi ne koshish bhi ki hogi toh khub ladi hogi marne se pehle (she was like my son – even if someone tried to molest her, she would have fought with all her might before being killed in this manner).”
He added, “She was so courageous that it never occurred to me to accompany her. If only I had gone with her, she would have been saved…”
The victim’s mother said the teen had left home at around 8.30 am on Monday, “She made tea for everyone, cooked meal and served us before leaving. I do not even know what she ate last…,” she said.
The father said she was supposed to walk to the local market to fill the online form for scholarship, but believes she could not make it to the market. As she failed to return for long, her mother repeatedly tried her cellphone since 1 pm, but the phone was not reachable, he said.
He said he looked for her till late night with other villagers and the police. But in vain.
Early Tuesday morning, he said, a few boys from the village went to the local pond to cut grass for the cattle and found her body. “She was murdered brutally…her throat was slit…. The guilty should be given strict punishment. I have other daughters as well. How will they move out,” he asked.
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