Faridabad: The 18-year-old was the apple of her family’s eye and wanted to be a doctor at AIIMS. But now she’s dead, killed on 17 May by an alleged stalker who is said to have barged into her house at Sector 3 Faridabad in broad daylight and brutalised her in multiple ways.
According to the account offered by police based on the suspect’s admissions, the stalker, a neighbour, unclothed the teenager and grabbed her by the hair to bash her head into the wall. He also allegedly hit her on the head with a bat and tawa, lacerated her with a hot knife, and tortured her with a screwdriver and scissors, before stabbing her to death.
The victim’s brother, studying in Class XII, was the first to find her body when he returned home from school.
Speaking to ThePrint at a condolence meeting for his sister, he recalled that she had been in the middle of a meal, watching television, when attacked.
“That day, I returned home around 2 pm. I saw a food plate with a half-eaten bite lying on the side. The TV was also on,” he said. “In one room, I saw my sister’s blood-soaked body sprawled on the floor. I did not know what to do. So, I ran out of my house to seek help from neighbours.”
At the condolence meeting, a framed photo of the victim rests on a chair. It is the last selfie she took, and now stands as a cruel reminder of a life cut short, embossed with her birth and death dates.
Police told ThePrint that the accused had confessed to the crime and its exact details, also admitting that he had been stalking the victim.
“He has confessed that he wanted to befriend the girl. It is a clear case of one-sided obsession,” said Yogvendra, the station house officer at Faridabad Sector 7 station, which oversees the area of the crime.
“The deceased girl had clearly declined his offer for any kind of friendship or love. There is no evidence of any kind of telephonic contact between the two,” he added.
The accused, police claimed, had been keeping a close watch on the girl’s house for several days ahead of 17 May: Observing who comes and when, and what time she leaves home and returns.
At the time of the crime, the victim was alone at home, with her brother in school and her parents at work: Her father is a government school teacher and her mother a lecturer.
Police quoted the suspect’s alleged statement to describe just how he found his way inside the house.
The girl’s family lived on the first floor of a duplex, whose ground floor had been vacant since their tenants moved out last month.
Around 10 am on 17 May, the suspect, his face covered with a handkerchief, opened the main gate and was on the stairs leading to the first floor when a delivery boy rang the bell from the main gate. The victim’s family doesn’t own a filter and gets mineral water delivered to their house.
Alarmed, the accused sprinted past the first-floor door and towards the terrace. When the victim went downstairs to collect the water, she left the door open: The suspect used the chance to enter the house, and took position in one of the bedrooms.
According to police, when the victim came face-to-face with the masked intruder, he immediately blindfolded her and began to unclothe her. Amid this struggle, his mask as well as the blindfold came off, and a series of brutalities ensued as the girl intensified her efforts to escape.
‘Tortured her for over three hours’
The girl’s father told ThePrint that the murderer stayed inside the house until 1.30 pm, presenting footage from the CCTV camera installed inside the house that showed him walking outside just afterwards.
“She fought him fiercely. When she started to wiggle out of his grip, he first hit her on the head with a tawa (utensil used to make chapatis), then, grabbing her by the hair, bashed her head into the wall,” the father said, quoting the police’s account of the suspect’s statement.
Such was the grip of his hand on her hair that a patch of her scalp allegedly came off.
“This gruesome assault was followed by several hits on the head with a cricket bat. He used a blade to lacerate her skin at 60-70 places, and several other tools such as a screwdriver, scissors and knife to torture the girl,” the father added.
“Knives were heated on the gas and used to lacerate her body. He tortured my daughter for three hours,” he said.
A neighbour added that, even after the crime, the accused was seen roaming the street for about half an hour.
At the condolence meet, the mother sat clutching her daughter’s study notes. “She aspired to be a doctor at AIIMS.”
Pointing towards a picture of Babasaheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar hanging in the room, she added, “We have a very firm belief in educating our children. She did not waste even a minute. She used to study all night, so we did not wake her up in the morning. She had a habit of skipping her breakfast. Lunch used to be her first meal.
“That day, she had not eaten even a morsel of food. The food was still in her plate. My daughter left this world with an empty stomach,” she said.
“My son is still in a state of shock,” the father added. “Police had covered her body before we came back. We would not have been able to see her body in such a brutalised condition… Our life is almost ruined.”
Family on the move
The accused Akash, who was arrested two days after the crime from Rewari, Haryana, has been a neighbour of the victim’s family for years. He is in his early 20s.
Native of Haryana’s Bhiwani district, the family lives in a rented house in Faridabad where the suspect’s mother is a yoga instructor and his father an employee at a liquor vend.
When ThePrint visited his house, it was locked. The landlady, who was present on the premises, said the family had been missing since the crime.
“The boy did not look like a criminal,” she added, claiming that girls were frequently harassed in the locality, and elders rebuked for objecting.
“If a girl dares to venture out of her home after sunset, boys are sure to tease and/or molest her. There is no escaping from these bad elements,” she added.
Arushi, a young resident of the area, said “this locality is not worth living for a girl”.
“In the evening, even schoolboys start teasing girls. Here, the people have accepted gender crime as fait accompli. No one ever complains to police,” she added.
The victim’s parents offered a similar testimony, saying their knowledge of this culture of harassment was fairly recent.
“Recently, a girl of the locality was murdered with an axe after she refused to marry some guy. The elder brother of the accused in this case was involved in another case of molestation,” said the father. “This is the reason why they had to vacate their previous residence.”
However, SHO Yogvendra vigorously denied this charge. “No such cases [of sexual harassment] have been registered in our station. This incident is the first-of-its-kind in this locality,” he added.
“Even in this case, we took prompt action. Within a couple of days of the incident, we managed to nab the accused,” he said.