Women protesting against the alleged rape and murder of a six-year-old girl were thrashed by the police in Aligarh on Thursday. TV grabs showed an old woman being thrown on the ground, reportedly by the Circe Officer of the Bannadevi station.

Aligarh Senior Superintendent of Police Amit Pathak even questioned the veracity of the allegations of the girl’s family that she was raped. Asked whether it was proved that the girl was raped, the SSP told reporters in Aligarh that a definite answer would be known only after the medical report was received.

Additional Director-General (Law and Order) Arun Kumar has ordered an inquiry into the incident. It will be conducted by the DIG of the Aligarh range. Mr. Kumar said in Lucknow that the DIG had been asked to submit his report within three days. Admitting that behavioural change and sensitisation of police personnel were essential for improving the image of the force, the ADG said the guilty policemen would be punished.

Unconfirmed reports said DSP Arun Kumar Singh, who pushed the women to the ground, was suspended late on Thursday night.

The protest in Aligarh was the fallout of the murder of the six-year-old girl, whose strangulated body was found in a garbage heap at Bannadevi. Alleging rape and murder, the agitators blocked the busy Aligarh-Delhi National Highway for several hours. They demanded immediate police action.

IG (Law and Order) Raj Kumar Vishwakarma told reporters that as the protesters resorted to heavy brickbatting the police resorted to lathi charge to disperse the squatters. Six persons were taken into custody.