Hapur: Scores of children playing around cattle, men and women lazing around on khatiyas (cots) swatting mosquitoes, others returning from a long day in the fields — a usual scene at Chaklathera village near Garhmukteshwar in Hapur district of Uttar Pradesh. The narrow road leading to the village is lined with lush sugarcane fields, now flooded with waters from the Ganga.
All this peace in this quaint village was, however, shattered on 6 August, when a six-year-old girl, playing outside her uncle’s house with one of her siblings and several other children from the neighbourhood, went missing.
She was allegedly picked up by someone on a motorbike at around 6 pm.
What followed was a futile nightlong search for the girl, across Chaklathera as well as nearby villages in Garhmukteshwar, before an alert sugarcane farmer chanced upon her during a stroll the next morning.
By then, the six-year-old had suffered a horrific rape besides brutal physical torture. After being taken to three hospitals, she had to undergo a surgery, and more will follow as doctors said there is a lot of damage to her private parts.
Amid all this, however, the girl has recognised the alleged perpetrator from his sketches that the police had got made after the crime.
While the condition of the girl is now stated to be “stable”, her rapist is still on the run.
The police, however, said while they have identified the accused, they are not revealing his details as that could hamper investigation.
Found in sugarcane fields
There is utter disbelief at Chaklathera village over the sequence of events and the horrific rape.
“The kids play around fearlessly here, this has never happened before,” a septuagenarian resident told ThePrint.
The girl’s uncle added, “She was playing in front of my house that evening. When we couldn’t locate her after a while, a bystander told us that she had left with someone on a bike.”
The minor lives with her parents and four siblings, and her house is located around 300 m from the spot where she was kidnapped.
She was finally located at 5.30 am the next morning, on 7 August, by a sugarcane farmer in the nearby Kalyanwali mandiya, around 3 km from her home.
The farmer, on the condition of anonymity, told ThePrint, “I usually exercise early in the morning. That is when I saw a child standing at the edge of the road. She seemed disoriented. When I asked her about her whereabouts, she didn’t tell me at first. But on asking again, she told me her name and her parents’ names too.”
A few phone calls to villages nearby lead to police teams swarming the fields within minutes.
She was then rushed to the Community Health Centre (CHC) in Garhmukteshwar. The doctor who tended to her there told ThePrint that they noticed abrasions but couldn’t examine her further as there was no female medical officer present there.
She was then sent to CHC, Hapur — around 40 km away — where she was examined and referred to a hospital in Meerut after doctors noticed internal bleeding.
Her surgery was conducted Saturday.
‘Stable’ but more surgeries required
One of the doctors from the Meerut hospital told ThePrint that she has sustained injuries to her intestine and a colostomy was conducted on her Saturday.
“There is a lot of damage to her private parts and she would require a lot of surgeries,” said the doctor.
However, while the doctor said the minor’s “private parts were mutilated”, Hapur Superintendent of Police (SP) Sanjeev Suman said this was not true.
“There is rape and internal damage, for which she has been operated on. Mutilation is a different thing altogether, that hasn’t happened in this case,” he told ThePrint.
The doctors as well as the police authorities, however, confirmed that she has regained consciousness and is stable now.
The SP also said said she identified the alleged perpetrator through the sketches and also a photograph of him.
Accused on the run
The FIR initially mentioned only Section 363 (kidnapping) of the Indian Penal Code as it was lodged on the basis of a complaint her father had filed after she went missing.
After her medical examination revealed internal bleeding, however, provisions relating to rape and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012 were added to the FIR.
According to another police officer conversant with the case, eight teams have since been put on the case, each comprising four to five officers.
SP Suman told ThePrint that the bike on which she was kidnapped has also been identified.
“The accused was zeroed in on through information received from one of our informants… The family members of the accused panicked when we began inquiring about the bikes. That’s how word travelled and we received information,” he said.
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