Minor rape survivor dies after being set ablaze in Bulandshahr

FIR registered against seven persons, including uncle and aunt of rape accused.

A minor Dalit rape survivor was allegedly killed in Jhangirabad police station area of Bulandshahr on Tuesday by the relatives of the accused, police said.

The girl was set on fire with petrol. She was referred to Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital with 65% burns where she passed away in the evening.

By late evening, three of the seven accused were arrested. In a video, purportedly recorded in the government hospital, the girl could be heard naming Sanjay, one of the accused named by the girl’s father in the FIR, for assaulting her on Tuesday morning outside her residence.

Police sources said the girl was raped on August 14 allegedly by Harish alias Chaita, a caretaker in a fruit orchard. An FIR was filed under sections 376 of the IPC and relevant sections of the POCSO Act and SC/ST (Prevention of atrocities) Act 1989 and the accused was sent to jail.

The victim’s family said relatives of the accused were exerting pressure on them to “settle” the case. “Two relatives of the accused visited our residence on Monday to pressure us,” a relative of the victim told reporters.

In his complaint, the girl’s father said that he and his wife were not at home when the incident took place. Their son was taking bath. The uncle and aunt of the accused, accompanied by five others, forced their way into the house, poured petrol on their daughter and set her on fire. The father said that the family had been threatening him with dire consequences and they became all the more furious when he approached the court under section 156 (3) of CrPc.

Police have registered an FIR against the seven named persons under sections 147, 506, 452, 307 and section 3(2)(v) of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989.

Santosh Kumar Singh, SSP Bulandshar, said it had to come his notice that the family of the accused was pressuring the victim’s family. “The accused is in jail and his bail application was rejected. Vivek Sharma, the SHO of Jhangirabad police station, has been sent to the police lines. Sub-inspector Vinaykant and beat constable Vikrant Tomar have been suspended,” said Mr. Singh.

He said, earlier in the day there was an impression that the girl had poured petrol on herself on the basis of the byte she gave a local channel. “However, after the father lodged the complaint, we quickly registered an FIR against the accused. Apart from the uncle and aunt, the others are their neighbours and belong to the same community,” he said.

Victim kills herself

In a separate incident, a 19-year-old alleged gang rape survivor in Bulandshahr ended her life on Monday, police said. In her suicide note, the student of law held the police inaction and lack of family support as reasons for taking the extreme step. She said she had to die to prove that she was being truthful.

Mr. Singh has suspended the investigating officer. According to police, the three accused, identified as Kamruddin, Mubin and Abrar, have been booked for abetment to suicide. Kamruddin was nabbed from Haryana’s Faridabad on Tuesday.

Explaining the delay in action, Mr. Singh said the girl had registered a case against Kamruddin on October 3 for kidnapping and harassment. “However, she later changed her statement and said she lodged the complaint under pressure from her family…We recorded her statement under Section 164 of CrPC before filing a final report in the matter,” he said.

However, the girl once again filed a complaint on October 24 against Kamruddin, who belongs to the same village, his uncle Mubin and Abrar. She said Kamruddin called her at 4 a.m. and when she went to meet him, he took her to Aligarh where the three men raped her.

“During the investigation, the location of Kamruddin and Abrar was not found to be in Aligarh. It was also found that no message was sent from Kamruddin’s phone to the alleged victim,” said Mr. Singh.

Though the allegations were not substantiated by evidence, it was found that the investigation was not conducted thoroughly, said the police official.

As both the incidents happened under the jurisdiction of Circle Officer, Anupshahar, the SSP has removed CO Anup Kumar Chaubey and replaced him with Vandana Sharma.

Suicide prevention helpline: Sanjivini, Society for Mental Health; telephone: 011-40769002, Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-7.30 p.m.

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