Days after the alleged rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl in Surat sparked outrage, drawing comparisons with the Kathua incident, Gujarat Police on Monday said that the victim’s mother had also been killed, allegedly by the main accused in the case.
The police said DNA tests have confirmed that the body of a woman found in Surat on April 9 was that of the victim’s mother. They said the woman is suspected to have been killed on March 26, allegedly by Harsh Sahay Gujjar, the 27-year-old labour contractor who is in police remand till May 3 for allegedly raping and killing the girl. The girl’s body was found on April 6. Police said they are also questioning Gujjar’s wife in connection with the woman’s killing.
According to police sources, Gujjar, a father of two, had “bought the woman for Rs 35,000 from Rajasthan” to employ her as a labourer. They said he was in a relationship with the woman and decided to kill her and the child after she started forcing him to stay with her.
Sources said police are on the lookout for Gujjar’s cousin, Hariom Gujjar, who is believed to have been present when both bodies were disposed of. Police are also searching for two other suspects — Kuldeep Gujjar and Mukesh Gujjar — who allegedly helped the main accused procure the woman and child.
Gujjar, a resident of Bhestan, was arrested by Ahmedabad Crime Branch on Friday from Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan. The girl’s body was found from Jiyav Budhiya village in Pandesara three days before her mother’s body was found in a decomposed state from the same area.
According to police, the girl was held captive, tortured and raped. They said the girl’s body bore 86 injury marks, including on her private parts, before she was strangled to death.
Surat police commissioner Satish Sharma said, “The DNA report confirms that the bodies were of mother and daughter. The woman was killed on March 26 and since then, the girl was staying at the house of Gujjar. We have found that the minor was a healthy child and was taken care of by Gujjar’s family. He told us that the motive behind killing her mother was that she was forcing him to stay with her. After the murder, he kept her daughter at his house. But when the girl started talking about her mother to family members, she was also murdered.”
Police said Gujjar has been based in Surat over the last seven years and carried out marble fitting work and civil contracts. “So far, we have come to know that there is only one previous case, related to a quarrel, lodged against him by Surat City Police,” Sharma said.