Delhi

Nangal fumes after ‘rape, murder’ of child

Parents of the victim at the protest site in south-west Delhi’s Nangal on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: Hemani Bhandari

Two days after a nine-year-old girl was allegedly cremated against parents’ consent inside a cremation ground, and a priest and three others arrested on charges of rape and murder, protest demanding the hanging of the accused continued in south-west Delhi’s Nangal area on Tuesday.

As the road in cantonment area from both sides towards Nangal village was blocked by protesters, the girl’s mother lay semi-conscious while the father sat amid a crowd. Both were clearly overwhelmed by the situation.

Nearby, on a stage, locals kept blaring that “this is not a political incident… we just want justice for our daughter… those who have come here for political gains should refrain from being a part”.

Among the political figures who visited the parents to express solidarity were Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Azad and his party members.

Recalling the incident, the mother, who is a ragpicker, said that the girl was dropped at the cremation ground by her father as he went to buy vegetables and the mother had gone home from nearby mazaar. “Jaise meri bacchi jalayi haivaise hi fansi chahiye unke liye [The way they have burnt my daughter… I want them to hang],” she said.

Rattled mother

“A person came searching for me and said the priest is calling me. When I reached the cremation ground, he told me that my daughter is dead. I kept asking for proof if she died of electrocution. But he never gave any. There were bruises in her hand, her skin was peeling off. Her tongue was black and lips were blue,” she said.

She told the priest that she wanted to call the police but she didn’t have a phone so she thought of going to the village, which is at a walking distance from the crime scene. “But he forced me inside the premises and locked the gate,” she claimed.

The mother said that she believed that her daughter had been raped because of the rushed cremation. “The priest didn’t ask for any documents, which he asks from others. He told me that I should not call the police because police matters go on for longer periods,” she said.

One of the four accused went on a scooty and brought the father from a nearby market. Both parents reportedly refused to sign any cremation document, and the girl was already being cremated when the father reached the place, the family said.

As the word spread, locals reached the crematorium, broke open the gate, poured water on the body and told the parents that it may be a case of rape after which police were called.

Police harassment

The father claimed that he was beaten up by the police inside the station on Sunday night. “They said I had taken money,” he said.

“I told the priest that I would have taken my daughter to hospital if she was electrocuted… why did he burn her? He asked me to come the next day and take her ashes,” the father said.

Senior officers of Delhi Police including Joint Commissioner of Police Jaspal Singh and Deputy Commissioner of Police (South-West) Ingit Pratap Singh reached the protest site on Tuesday and tried to defuse the situation. They asked the crowd to give their grievances in written so that action can be taken.

Sources said that medical examination of the accused was conducted and it was found that they were not drunk at the time of the incident. No CCTV footage has been found either, they said, adding that videos of the girl’s remains being pulled out have been obtained.

Chandra Shekhar Azad demanded justice for the child. “If our girls here are not safe, then one can only imagine what the situation would be like in villages. I haven’t seen the FIR yet. I want to see it so that I can help the family with legal discourse,” he said.

Sharing a news piece on the incident, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi wrote “Dalit ki beti bhi desh ki beti hai [A Dalit’s daughter is also daughter of the country].”


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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 10:06:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/nangal-fumes-after-rape-murder-of-child/article35711356.ece

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