Bulandshahr: She wanted her father to stop driving the autorickshaw after he suffered two heart attacks. She didn’t like it when her mother struggled to make ends meet towards the end of each month. She thought money would solve all their problems, and the only way to find a good job was by studying hard.
So she decided to take up English coaching classes to perform better in her Class 10 board exams. She wanted to be a teacher. But she couldn’t fulfill her dreams.
Around 1.20pm on 1 October, the father of the girl, a 16-year-old from a Dalit family in UP’s Bulandshahr, received a call that she was lying unconscious near the main road. Out for her tuition class, the girl had been assaulted. A few minutes later, she was declared brought dead at the hospital.
“Usne bas boards ke liye classes join kiya tha, uske school ki he teacher the. Ek mahina hua tha bas (She had joined tuition classes to prepare for her board exams. It had only been a month),” said the girl’s father.
“Cycle leke jaati the, uss din nahi gayi, bola tempo kar lungi main road se (She used to ride a cycle, but decided to take a tempo that day),” he added.
Her mother has been inconsolable since the day the girl’s body arrived at their home at Kirra village in Bulandhshahar district. “Padhne gayi the… saara kaam karke… maar diya usne. Ab kya beti padhne bhi nahi jaa sakti (She went to study… after finishing all chores… she was killed. Can’t a daughter go out even to study?),” her mother said.
6 teams formed to probe case
The family and neighbours of the Dalit girl, who was found lying by the roadside in mud, 600-700 metres away from her house, have no suspects in mind.
They say they have no clue why anyone would kill a girl while she was on her way to coaching, in broad daylight. All they want is the suspected to be arrested soon.
“Kiske dimag mein kya chal raha hoga hume nahi pata. Jisne bhi maara ho, hamara janne wala bhi ho, wo bas jaldi pakda jaaye (We wouldn’t know a person’s intentions. We just hope that the person who killed her, even if they are known to us, is arrested soon),” said the girl’s mother.
The girl’s autopsy established head injury as the cause of death but revealed no signs of sexual assault, police said. A case has been registered under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Her school bag, books and mobile phone are with police.
Seventy-two hours on, forensic reports are still awaited, and the accused are yet to be identified.
Sources said around 12 men have been identified as suspects but no concrete evidence has been found against any of them. All of them were known to the girl, and are either from Kirra or nearby villages.
“All the boys said they know the girl and would often speak on call or meet but none of them know anything about the incident. They are all between the ages of 18 and 22,” a senior police officer told ThePrint.
Six teams have been formed to nab the accused, SSP Bulandshahr Santosh Kumar Singh said.
“Names of three other married men from Kirra village have also cropped up,” the source quoted above said. “We suspect it is someone with whom she had a relationship either in the past or someone she was seeing in the present,” the senior police officer added.
On 1 October, police detained a man as the primary suspect after a couple, who saw the girl lying unconscious, made a PCR call.
“The husband said he saw a man in a red t-shirt hitting the girl, but his wife said they didn’t see the crime. They only saw someone leaving the area. They also didn’t identify any of the accused,” the source said.
The man detained by police is in his thirties and has two children. According to police, he is a drug addict who initially tried to evade police. Police said he revealed during questioning that he ran because he was carrying ganja.
“It was a 9km chase to nab him but now everyone who had said they saw a red t-shirt man running is saying it’s not him that they saw,” SSP Singh said.
Police also said they have zeroed down a list of suspects based on the girl’s call records.
“We have her (the victim’s) phone. We suspect it is one of the men she knew closely. There is a list of names we have zeroed down on as suspects on the basis of call detail records,” SSP Singh said.
Relatives demand compensation for family
Back at her home in Kirra village, relatives of the 16-year-old demand compensation for the family.
“Everyone had pinned their hopes on her. Her father can hardly work, her mother also had two surgeries, and keeps unwell. What will happen to her two younger brothers?” her aunt said.
In their one-room house, the victim’s books and a school project lie on the bed. “She liked drawing mehendi (henna)…. Before her cousin’s wedding in August, she learnt it through YouTube channels. She was very good at it,” the aunt added.
In the courtyard, her two younger brothers — aged 5 and 11 — were sitting next to their mother. They know their sister won’t come back.
(Edited by Neha Mahajan)