New Delhi: The alleged rape and murder of a nine-year-old Dalit girl by a crematorium priest in southwest Delhi’s Old Nangal village has received outrage from across the state and even on Twitter with the hashtag #JusticeforDelhiCnttgirl trending.
The victim’s mother has alleged that the child was raped and murdered and to cover up the crimes, her body was cremated without the consent of her or her husband.
According to the mother’s testimony, the child stepped out of her house at around 5:30 in the evening to get water from a water cooler but didn’t return. Soon after, the priest and three other individuals—who also happen to be the accused in question—called the mother and claimed that the child was electrocuted by the cooler and died on the spot.
The mother’s police testimony states that the priest Radhe Shyam had cremated her daughter’s body without her consent to avoid legal tangles. The parents of the victim protested and were joined by 200 villagers as a call was made on the spot to the police control room.
The police reported that a forensic lab team and a crime team were called to collect evidence from the scene and as there were no CCTV cameras in the vicinity, they stated that the sequence of events is difficult to ascertain.
The police have however filed a First Information Report (FIR) under relevant sections of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the SC/ST Atrocities Act and arrested the four accused namely Radhey Shyam, Kuldeep, Laxmi Narain and Salim. Relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code were also added to the list.
Delhi women and child development minister Rajendra Pal Gautam is said to have met the family and stated that the government will provide compensation and any legal assistance the family requires.
Bhim Army chief, Chandrashekar Azad met the family of the victim and has been demanding the death penalty for the perpetrators of the crime.
The police have remarked that only the legs of the deceased were recovered which made it difficult to ascertain the crime. The remains from the cremation only indicate fractured parts of her skull, alongside some of her teeth.
The victim’s parents earned their living by rag-picking and she was their sole offspring.