Lucknow: A 13-year-old girl who was allegedly abducted and gangraped by two unidentified young men last month died at her home in Kandipur in Uttar Pradesh’s Ambedkar Nagar district in the early hours of Wednesday.
Family members said the minor allegedly died by suicide, having hanged herself, after the police failed to invoke relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) pertaining to gangrape despite repeated requests. The investigating officer (IO) pressured her to “reach a compromise” with her aunt and the aunt’s ‘paramour’, both of whom were an accessory to the abduction, claimed the girl’s father.
Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Ayodhya Range, Amrendra Prasad Singh told ThePrint Thursday that the IO has been suspended and Kandipur station house officer (SHO) removed, pending further inquiry.
“SHO Chandrabhan Yadav has been sent to police lines and a new SHO has been appointed. If anyone is involved, action will be taken against him too,” said DIG Singh.
The girl, a student of class VIII, was allegedly abducted on the morning of 16 September when she was on her way to school. Family members claim that her aunt and neighbour, Meera Devi, and the aunt’s ‘paramour’, Katghar resident Arshad, might have had a role in the minor’s abduction. The two were arrested Thursday in connection with the case.
In a video statement on 5 October, Ambedkar Nagar Superintendent of Police (SP) Ajit Kumar Sinha confirmed that the police lodged an FIR in the case under IPC’s “section 376D (gangrape) and relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act”.
‘Escaped from clutches of captors’
The girl, the youngest of five siblings, cycled each morning to school, located about five km from her village. Family members said that on 16 September, she had asked for auto rickshaw fare after her cycle broke down.
When she did not return home after school, the family searched for the girl and eventually lodged a complaint under Section 363 (kidnapping) of the IPC at Malipur police station that evening. An FIR, a copy of which ThePrint has accessed, was registered on the basis of their complaint.
At around 5 am on 18 September, the girl called her brother and asked him to meet her at an intersection near the family’s home. “She made a phone call using a villager’s mobile. When I reached, I found her standing there barefoot,” said her elder brother.
One of her sisters, recounting what the girl said to her family upon her return, told ThePrint: “She was walking alone when two unknown boys arrived in a blue car and abducted her.”
According to the elder brother, the girl told the family that her aunt Meera had “informed Arshad about the fact that she left for school alone that day”.
“Arshad was on a bike, standing at a distance of about 100 metres from the spot when he signaled to the [two unidentified] accused who were in a car,” the brother said.
Her father, recalling what the girl told him, said the two unidentified accused drove her to Lucknow where they took turns raping her at a hotel on 17 September. “The next day, when the accused went out to pay the hotel bill, my daughter managed to give them the slip and escaped. She then boarded a bus headed to Akbarpur,” he said.
‘Woman cop slapped my daughter’
Following her return, the family approached the police on the evening of 18 September to report the alleged sexual assault. Her father alleged that a woman sub-inspector (SI) at the Malipur police station slapped the girl several times that day.
But the family’s written complaint was later accepted and they were informed that the girl’s medical examination could not be conducted that day since it was late.
“The next day, too, medical [exam] was not conducted and we were told the doctor was not available. On 20 September, a medical examination was conducted at the district hospital in Ambedkar Nagar. The next day, her statement was recorded before a magistrate [under Code of Criminal Procedure’s section 164],” said her father.
SP Sinha confirmed that the girl had undergone a medical examination. “So far, rape is not confirmed in the medical examination but the additional report of swabs is awaited and will reveal whether a sexual assault took place,” he told ThePrint Thursday.
Ramchandra Mishra, a neighbour who met the girl and accompanied her father to the police station said the girl told him that the duo who committed the crime seemed young. “According to her description, they were two boys, possibly in their early 20s and one of them was wearing a silver kada (bangle). She said she had suffered an injury on her neck due to the kada. She had an injury on the side of her neck,” said Mishra.
On 29 September, the family approached senior police officials to get the accused booked under relevant sections of the IPC pertaining to gangrape.
“We approached the superintendent of police but he rebuked me and blamed us for trying to frame Arshad. He said that someone else was behind the case and humiliated us. Asaram Yadav, an RSS member who was with us, was also threatened by the SP,” claimed the father.
However, SP Sinha refuted the father’s claim. “I don’t think the family has spoken to me. They are mistaken,” he told ThePrint.
‘IO told us to reach compromise’
Dejected by the police’s response, the family filed a complaint on the Uttar Pradesh chief minister’s Jansunwai – Samadhan (grievance redressal) portal. They also submitted a copy of their complaint at the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) in Lucknow on 30 September.
The father alleged that once the local police caught wind of the family’s complaint to the CM, Pramod Kharwar — the IO — “would visit” the family’s home every day in his absence and question his wife and daughters.
“He would ask us to reach a compromise with the accused [Meera, Arshad] and said it would benefit us. On Tuesday, I was at a mela (fair) when the IO tortured my youngest daughter,” he alleged.
The girl’s elder sister told ThePrint: “He [IO] arrived around 8 pm and told my sister that we should not take any further action. He said we should not tell anyone else about the case. My sister told him that if the accused are not caught by the next morning, she would commit suicide.”
Hours later, her family members woke up to find the girl dead.
On the family’s allegations against the police official, SP Sinha said, “The IO went to the spot to ask questions about the case which is like a blind case. One has to question the victim to enquire about such a case.”
While denying the family’s claim that the girl had suffered an injury on her neck, SP Sinha said that teams have been formed and the police are questioning some suspects in connection with the case.
(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)