More gory details of the gangrape-and-murder of a young Dalit woman from Sonipat emerge today, while her family alleged that their plea to police for help prior to the killing went unheeded. An autopsy of the victim showed the bones of the woman’s skull were shattered into pieces and “some sharp-edged objects may have been inserted in her private parts”.
“The findings suggest that it was a brutal rape and murder,” said Dr S K Dhatterwal, head of the department of forensic medicine at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS) in Rohtak, who conducted the post-mortem examination.
Two persons, including the main accused Sumit, who is a Dalit, have been arrested by the Haryana Police which has formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the case.
Police today also said that the family of the victim suspected the involvement of six more persons, out of whom five were related to the main accused.
Meanwhile, National Commission for Women member Rekha Sharma met the family of the victim and said she expects that the accused will get exemplary punishment like the killers of ‘Nirbhaya’.
The decomposed and mutilated body of the 23-year-old woman, who went missing from Sonipat on May 9 and was gang-raped and brutally murdered, was found near the Industrial Model Township in Urban Estate, Rohtak, on May 11. Stray dogs had bitten off the face and lower portion of her body.
The sheer brutality of the crime is reminiscent of the ‘Nirbhaya’ incident in Delhi, which triggered nation-wide outrage.
The kin of the victim have alleged that they had approached the Sonipat police about a month back with a complaint that Sumit was harassing their daughter, but there was no action.
“Earlier, we had approached police with a complaint of harassment by the main accused but no action was taken,” the victim’s kin told reporters in Sonipat.
Refuting the charge, Sonipat Superintendent of Police, Ashwin Shenvi said, “There was a verbal complaint given some time back by the woman to Sonipat police saying that the main accused was asking her to marry him. It was a verbal complaint, there was no written complaint to police station.”
“However, later the complainant and her mother again came to the police station and said they had struck a compromise, and there no need for police action,” the officer claimed.
Shenvi said an SIT, headed by DSP (Headquarters) Sonipat, Mukesh is probing the case. It also has a local SHO, Inspector CIA and a woman police officer, he told PTI over phone.
He said as the victim belonged to Dalit community, the accused had also been booked under the provisions of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
“The woman was a Dalit and out of the two accused, main accused Sumit is also a Dalit,” he added.
Shenvi said during investigations involvement of only two people had come to fore, both of whom were arrested.
Rohtak Range Inspector General of Police Navdeep Virk said that the family gave the names of six more persons last evening.
“The victim’s family gave names of six more persons yesterday, suspecting their involvement in the crime. A supplementary statement of the family has been recorded to find out if those who have been named are actually involved. Out of these six persons, five are relatives of Sumit, main accused. One more is also related in some way to the accused,” the SP said.
The police have arrested 24-year-old Sumit and 28-year-old Vikas on the charges of rape, murder and abduction.
Drawing parallels with the ‘Nirbhaya’ case of Delhi, the victim’s family demanded exemplary punishment to the accused.
The shocking incident barely a month after the BJP-led Haryana government launched ‘Operation Durga’ to stop eve-teasing and harassment of women in public places in the state, which is infamous for its adverse sex ratio in the country.
The victim, said to be a divorcee, had been abducted from Sonipat on May 9 and taken to Rohtak in a car, police said. The victim’s parents had lodged a missing complaint at the Sonipat police station.
Sonipat police sub-inspector Ajay Malik had said that the victim was raped first and then the suspects hit her with a brick, smashing her face. Sumit, who was an acquaintance of the victim, had allegedly been pressuring her to marry him, police said.
Following the incident, Congress president Sonia Gandhi yesterday expressed deep shock, saying it highlighted the need for “revisiting” the issue of women safety.
The body was identified by the victim’s mother on the basis of her clothes.
“He was putting pressure on her to marry him and used to threaten her. A week ago, he stopped her when she was returning from work. When she resisted, he threatened and abused her. She slapped him and ran home,” said the mother in her statement to the police.
While Sumit has a private job, Vikas works as a car mechanic.