Minor dies under mysterious circumstances

Parents allege 9-year-old was cremated without their consent; villagers stage protest

August 03, 2021 02:53 am | Updated 02:53 am IST - NEW DELHI

A nine-year-old girl died under mysterious circumstances in south-west Delhi’s Cantonment on Sunday night and was cremated before police were informed of the incident. Four persons — Radhey Shyam, Kuldeep, Laxmi Narain and Saleem — have been arrested in connection with the case, they said on Monday.

DCP (South West) Ingit Pratap Singh said they received a PCR call at 10.30 p.m. regarding the rape and death of a minor girl. The police were also told that she was being cremated.

On reaching the spot, the police found that around 200 villagers had gathered in the area and the cremation was almost over.

They were told that around 5.30 p.m., the girl informed her mother, a ragpicker, that she is going to fetch water from a cooler at the crematorium.

“At 6 p.m., a priest at the crematorium, Shyam, and two-three other persons [all acquaintances] called her mother to the spot. They told her that she got electrocuted while drinking water from the cooler. There were burn marks on her left wrist and elbow,” Mr. Singh said.

An officer said the priest told her mother that if she reports the matter to the police then the body would be sent for post-mortem and her organs would be stolen. The girl’s body was then cremated.

“The parents of the girl then alleged that the minor was cremated without their consent,” the DCP said.

Mr. Singh said the crime team was called to the spot for inspection. The mortal remains were sent for post-mortem.

A case under Sections 304 (causing death by negligence), 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code was registered at Delhi Cantonment police station. Later, IPC Sections 302 (punishment for murder) and 376 (punishment for rape), and relevant sections of SC/ST Act and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act were added.

A neighbour of the victim’s family claimed: “By the time the mother reached the crematorium, the girl had already been cremated. They poured water to douse the fire,” she said.

CCTV footage

The neighbour also claimed to have seen CCTV footage in which the girl can be seen walking naked. The neighbour claimed that the minor’s mother was being forced to say “it is not a case of rape and murder”.

Mr. Singh said technical evidence will be obtained and examined. He also said the minor’s mother has given her statement before the magistrate.

On Monday, locals gathered and staged a protest at Pankha Road.

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