More than a week after a body of a minor girl with numerous injury marks on her body was found from Pandesara in Surat, the police on Sunday said that she was held captive, tortured and raped before being killed. Addressing a press conference days after the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua in Jammu region sent shock waves across the nation, Surat Police Commissioner Satish Sharma said that the girl’s body bore 86 injury marks, including her private parts, before she was strangulated to death.
Unable to identify the girl, believed be between nine and 11 years old, the Surat police on Sunday transferred the investigation to Crime Branch. “We have handed over the case to Surat Crime Branch today. Till now, we have not got any clue and are trying to identify the deceased,” Police Commissioner Sharma said. Police had earlier announced an award of Rs 20,000 for any information about the girl.
According to the police, the body was found in Bhestan locality in Pandesara area after some passersby spotted it lying in bushes near a cricket ground on the morning of April 6. Ganesh Govekar, a doctor at the City Civil Hospital where the autopsy was conducted, said, “Going by the nature of injuries, they seem to have been caused over a period ranging from one week to a day prior to the recovery of the body, suggesting that the girl, who is between nine to 11 years of age, might have been held captive, tortured and possibly raped.”
An FIR has been lodged under sections 302 (murder), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 376 (rape) of the IPC and under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) against unidentified persons, he said. Meanwhile, the police said that all efforts were being made to identify the girl. “We have gone through the data of missing children in Gujarat and also in other states like Odisha and West Bengal, as she might be from another state,” Sharma said. “There was no sign of struggle at the spot where the body was found. The post-mortem report says she was killed six to 24 hours before the body was dumped. It is possible that she is from outside Surat,” he said.
Police had earlier also said that they suspect that the girl was a migrant or brought to Surat from outside. “We need to identify the girl to solve the case. We are focusing on Odisha and West Bengal, as she is likely to be from either of the two states,” he said, adding that so far the police have scanned data of 8,000 missing children. “We have taken a DNA sample for identification. We will also obtain a report from the forensic science laboratory as soon as possible,” he said.
(With PTI inputs)