A man who allegedly raped a tribal schoolgirl in Betul last month came to her home, along with two others, on Friday night and shot her mother dead as the helpless girl watched.

The mother (50), who had filed a complaint with the police after her 15-year-old daughter was raped on her way to school on February 10, had been threatened repeatedly to withdraw her complaint.

The complainant had named a woman, Rani Gawli, as an accomplice who helped the accused, Rajesh Kirar, rape her daughter, following which Rani was arrested. Rani's husband Rajiv and her brother-in-law had been threatening the girl's mother to withdraw her complaint.

The girl reportedly told local journalists that Rajiv, his brother Bantu, and Rajesh, the man who raped her, shot her mother thrice in front of her.

‘Shocking’

The district police have registered a case against three persons and despatched investigation teams to catch the accused.

Terming the incident “shocking and outrageous,” the Madhya Pradesh State Women's Commission has decided to send a fact-finding team to Betul to investigate the matter.

String of rapes

The incident, which has sent shockwaves across the State, is just another in a recent and continuing string of crimes against women in Madhya Pradesh.

Earlier this month, a 14-year-old Dalit girl was gang-raped by four men at Chandera village of Betul's Multai tehsil. On February 26, a 13-year-old girl was gang-raped by a railway clerk and two teenage boys in Chhindwara district.

Before that, the rape of two minor girls in Betma town near Indore by a group of 14 men, who also filmed the incident and circulated it as an MMS, had shocked the State.

Four minor girls were raped every day over the last two years in the State, by the government's own admission. This shocking fact was revealed by State Home Minister Umashankar Gupta on Thursday. In a reply to Congress MLA Tulsi Silawat's question in the Assembly, Mr. Gupta admitted that 3,176 minor girls were raped in the State over the last two years.

Disturbing frequency

News reports of minor girls being gang-raped have become disturbingly frequent in the local press.

At 3,135, the State recorded the highest number of rape cases in the country for the year 2010, according to the National Crime Records Bureau's latest Crime in India report. The State also recorded the highest number of molestation cases (6,646).