February 4, 2020 5:08:15 pm
Over a year after the body of a 12-year-old girl was found hanging from a tree near her home, the Ludhiana police arrested two of her neighbours on charges of rape and murder Sunday.
The accused were booked under sections 376 (rape), 302 (murder) of IPC and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act in June last year.
Police said that in January 2019, the girl was alone at her home one day as her parents, who worked as labourers, were away. She was found hanging and police filed inquest proceedings under section 174 of CrPC. The autopsy and viscera reports had confirmed that the girl was raped and died of strangulation.
On June 29, 2019, police had booked her two neighbours — Gurmeet Singh alias Meeta (35) and his nephew Lovely (28).
After their arrests on Sunday, there was high drama at Ladhowal police station when a warrant officer raided the police station on the allegations of the family of accused, which moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court alleging that both men were “detained illegally”. However, after being informed of the charges, the officer left.
SHO sub-inspector Balwinder Singh, “Both accused first took turns to rape her, then murdered her and hanged the body to pass it off as suicide. They even pretended to show concern about her death and rushed her to a hospital after her mother pleaded for help. We had detained the two several times for questioning but their families would stage a protest to put pressure. On Sunday, however, we arrested them and they have confessed to the crime.”
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