Seated inside her dimly-lit house in UP’s Firozabad, the 15-year-old girl recalled her father’s last words to her Monday. “He told me, ‘Chhotu ne kiya yeh’. I was trying to forget what happened with me… the rape… and just then he killed my father. Police have provided us security now, why couldn’t they do it earlier when we told them about the threat?” she asked.
On Monday, the girl’s father was shot dead, allegedly by Achman Upadhyay (30) aka Chhotu, who had allegedly raped her last August. The girl’s father was returning home Monday when four men intercepted and shot him, and then fled. They are yet to be traced.
On January 6, the family wrote a complaint via the online complaints portal of the UP government, addressed to the Chief Minister. The complaint, accessed by The Indian Express, states that the accused was “pressuring the family to reach a compromise” and had “threatened to kill them”. The complaint also said that the family feared for their lives.
The January letter stated that “the accused had run away after the crime but had now returned and has been spotted outside the complainant’s house at night a few times… Kindly arrest him at the earliest.” The family is yet to receive a response.
Firozabad SP Sachindra Patel said, “There are many ways people can file complaints. We admit that there was some lapse in the local investigation. The officers didn’t take the death threat calls seriously and this is why three policemen have been suspended. Five teams are looking for the accused.”
The girl claimed that when the family informed police personnel that Upadhyay was in town and should be arrested, they were told to catch him themselves. “When will the police wake up? The police could have stopped this but they didn’t. The police could have deployed a team then to arrest Upadhyay. My husband was the sole breadwinner of the family and the only one who supported our daughter,” said the girl’s mother.
On February 1, the girl claimed, the accused showed up in the area and followed her. She said he called her father at night, and said, “If you don’t withdraw the rape complaint, I will kill you and your family.”
On Wednesday afternoon, the girl’s mother consoled her children that their father “was a good man who died protecting his family.” On August 26, while the girl was on her way home from school, Upadhyay told her that her father had met with an accident and that he would take her to him. Instead, he allegedly took her to a vacant plot where he raped her and then beat her up.
She told The Indian Express, “My father took me to the police station where they refused to file an FIR. It was filed three days later at another police station.” She alleged that the delay gave the accused time to flee. A senior police officer claimed, “We received a complaint and didn’t delay action. The girl went to her relative’s place after the incident. They were also trying to settle the matter. A case of kidnapping, attempt to murder and POCSO Act was registered.”
After the murder Monday, police have deployed five teams to look for the accused, and 8-10 people have been detained and are being questioned. A senior police officer said, “We suspect that the accused has fled to Noida. He will be nabbed soon.”