A six-year-old girl, a student of class II, was raped and killed in Doranda in Ranchi on Wednesday. The girl went missing from her house in Doranda on Wednesday morning. Her body was found in an under-construction building with her neck and feet tied with a string.

“Prima facie it appears that the child was raped. We are waiting for the medical report for confirmation. The local police did patrolling to search for the child yesterday. We are still searching for clues about the culprit,” said the Deputy Superintendent of Police (Hatiya). The autopsy was done in Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences in Ranchi on Thursday. Police officials said no FIR had been registered yet.

The girl’s father, a wage labourer, had started a search with the help of his neighbours when she went missing half an hour after she returned from school at 10: 30 a.m. on Wednesday.

“She went out to play in the neighbourhood after she came back from school but went missing half an hour later. First we searched all the neighbourhood houses to see if she had gone to somebody’s house to play. We feared she had been abducted and reported it to the police station in Doranda between 6-7 pm,” said a family member.

Families from the neighbourhood carried out a search of the area all day and through the night and found her body, bleeding and tied-up with strangulation marks on her neck at 3 am on Thursday.

While officials at the Doranda police station claim they sent out a message immediately on the wireless alerting all police stations about the girl’s disappearance and the police patrol in the area helped the family members in their search, social activists criticised the police for not having launched a more active search themselves immediately after they received information about the child’s disappearance.

“Doranda police merely made only a station diary entry on the basis of the family’s complaint. That is their standard response to any complaint about missing children and they do nothing beyond that to actively search for the children. In December, I reported that a 15-year-old girl who went missing from Chanhu village in Ranchi has contacted her family on the phone from Delhi that she is being sexually abused and beaten up in an area near Sarojini Nagar in Delhi but there has been no follow-up from Jharkhand state police yet,” said Baidnath Kumar a Ranchi-based social activist from the NGO Diya Sewa Sanstha.