A 16-year-old girl burnt herself to death in Jind district in Haryana on Saturday,soon after she had been allegedly raped by two youths. Over two dozen cases of rape have been reported in the state in the past month.
The police have arrested one of the alleged rapists,Naveen,as well as Meenu and Sanjeev,who reportedly helped in the crime. The second alleged rapist,Pradeep,is absconding. The victim as well as the accused belong to Jinds Sacchakhera village and are from the Balmiki community.
In a statement to the police before dying,Sharmila said she was raped for more than one hour by Pradeep and Naveen even as Meenu (Pradeeps sister-in-law) and Sanjeev kept guard. The girl later went to her house and fearing the humiliation,poured kerosene on her body and immolated herself. On hearing her screams,the neighbours rushed to the spot and informed the police, said an officer.
Sharmila was initially taken to Narwana hospital and later referred to Rohtaks Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS),where she succumbed to her injuries.
Sharmila was going home when her neighbours son Pradeep allegedly pulled her inside his home. He took her to a room where his friends Naveen and Sanjeev were reportedly already present. Meenu was also at home.
Sanjeev kept watch inside even as Pradeep and Naveen allegedly took turns to rape her.
Sharmilas mother Rajkali said the boys were known goondas of the area.
Since Pradeeps cousin Manoj is a constable in the Haryana police,they also enjoy police patronage, she said,adding that the family was not at home when the incident took place and had been informed by the neighbours and the police about what had happened.
We reached the hospital where our daughter was battling for life and could barely utter a few names and mentioned that she was raped by these boys.
Sharmilas mother also claimed that in her statement to the police,her daughter had said Manoj was among the rapists but the police had not included his name in the FIR as he was a policeman.
Sharmila has six other siblings,including four sisters and two brothers. While her elder brother and sister were working in the nearby fields with their father Balraj and Rajkali at the time of the alleged rape,another brother and her sisters were in school.
Previously also Pradeep and Manoj had teased Sharmila. We had warned them,but they did not budge. They should be hanged for this crime, Balraj said.
Jind Superintendent of Police Sourabh Singh said they were conducting raids and would catch Pradeep soon.