Halol town in the Panchmahals district, 100 km from Ahmedabad, observed a bandh on Wednesday to mourn the two-and-a-half-year old daughter of a watchman, who was raped and dumped in a thorny bush allegedly by her uncle on Friday. The girl, who suffered severe internal injuries, died in a Vadodara hospital on Tuesday evening.

There was a curfew-like situation in the town. Social and trade organisations demanded capital punishment to Keshav Joshi, 32, a father of four children who live in Nepal with their mother.

The local police are yet to seek the remand of the accused. Inspector J.K. Patel has argued that this was not needed since Joshi had admitted to his crime.

Joshi, who is a watchman in a nearby town, had come to his brother-in-law’s home at Halol. He took the girl out after dinner, raped her and then flung her in a nearby bush. He was caught in the act by some youth who, after thrashing him, handed him over to the police.

The girl’s father Ram Prasad rushed her to the Halol government referral hospital. But since there was no gynaecologist present there, he had to take her to Vadodara’s SSG Hospital, some 45 km away.

On Tuesday, when the girl died, two more rape cases were registered in Kutch’s Anjar town and Vadnagar’s Babipura village in north Gujarat.

In the Anjar case, a 16-year-old girl was raped on the night of December 23 allegedly by Velji Rajput, 23. He later dumped her outside a hospital and escaped.

In Vadnagar, a college girl was raped repeatedly over a period allegedly by her friend Mukesh Patel.

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