A priest and three employees of a crematorium in Southwest Delhi were arrested on Monday, 2 August in a case involving the death of a nine-year-old girl under mysterious circumstances, and her hurried cremation.
The accused have been identified as Radhey Shyam, the priest at the crematorium, and Kuldeep Kumar (63), Laxmi Narain (48) and Mohd Salim (49), all of whom were reportedly acquainted with the girl.
A 9-year-old Dalit girl was allegedly raped, murdered and forcibly cremated by a priest and 3 other men in #Delhi. Hundreds of women have gathered outside the crematorium, where the incident took place, demanding justice. Stay tuned to @TheQuint for updates on the case. pic.twitter.com/2V3ImlIYhZ
— Mythreyee (@MythreyeeRamesh) August 3, 2021
— Mythreyee (@MythreyeeRamesh) August 3, 2021
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal condemned the incident, calling it shameful. He said that there is a need to improve law and order in the National Capital, adding that the culprits should be given capital punishment at the earliest.
He also said that he would be going to meet the victim's family on Wednesday.
दिल्ली में 9 साल की मासूम के साथ हैवानियत के बाद हत्या बेहद शर्मनाक है। दिल्ली में कानून-व्यवस्था दुरुस्त किए जाने की ज़रुरत है। दोषियों को जल्द से जल्द फांसी की सज़ा मिलनी चाहिए।
कल पीड़ित परिवार से मिलने जा रहा हूं, न्याय की इस लड़ाई में परिवार की हर संभव मदद करेंगे।
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) August 3, 2021
What Had Happened
DCP (Southwest) Ingit Pratap Singh said that they received a PCR call around 10.30 pm, following which, the police rushed to the sit of the incident.
He informed that around 5.30 pm on Sunday, the girl went to get water from a cooler at the crematorium and around 6 pm, Radhey Shyam, and two-three other people acquainted with the girl's mother, called and showed her the girl’s body, claiming that she had died after getting electrocuted while getting water, The Indian Express reported.
Singh reportedly added, "There were burn marks between her left wrist and elbow and her lips were blue."
As per the police, the accused had allegedly convinced the girl's family to cremate her without informing the police, however the girl's family objected. They had claimed that if police file a case, the doctor's would steal the girl's organs during post-mortem, The Indian Express reported.
The girl's mother has claimed that the accused may have sexually assaulted her daughter, given her rushed cremation.
Actions Taken So Far
Singh informed that as per the girl’s mother's statement, an FIR has registered under IPC sections 304-A (causing death by negligence), 201 (destruction of evidence), 342 (wrongful restraint) and 34 (common intention), as well as the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, SC/ST Act, and IPC sections 302 (punishment for murder), 376 (punishment for rape), and 506 at the Delhi Cantonment police station.
The TA forensics team and a crime team has also collected evidence from the scene.
Further, Congress Rajya Sabha MP Shaktisinh Gohil has given a notice to discuss the matter in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
The Chairperson of the Delhi Commission of Women also tweeted on Tuesday, saying that the police should carry out a thorough investigation of the matter in an expeditious manner.
What We Know
The girl lived with her parents in a rented accommodation near the crematorium, the police stated. Her mother is a ragpicker.
The senior officer also said that a crowd of over 200 villagers gathered to protest the cremation of the girl, which was stopped mid-way and the body was taken off the pyre, The Indian Express reported.
As per the the neighbour, residents of the neighbourhood had confronted the priest about the alleged crime. The neighbour has also asked the police to scan CCTV cameras installed to obtain evident and ascertain what happened.
Women and Child Development Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam has stated, “This is a very shocking matter. I have spoken to the DCP and DM here. I asked them that the matter should be investigated in a fast track manner." He had urged the police to record the parent's statement without delay.
He added, “We will talk to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and provide compensation to the girl’s family as soon as possible and will also provide the necessary legal assistance to the family, if needed."
(With inputs from The Indian Express and The Hindu)
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