Police have sought information from the general public about a two-year-old girl who was rescued from a farm in Halyal village, near Athani, after alleged torture, four days ago.
Farmers had found the girl, unconscious and wrapped in a cloth, thrown in a sugarcane field near the river bank, on September 24. She had suffered burns, made with cigarette butts on her face, chin, neck, back and private parts.
Her painful cries alerted the farmers who then sounded Pradeep Nandagaon, a social worker, who shifted her to a private hospital and alerted the police. The police shifted her to the district hospital and registered a case. The girl regained consciousness after treatment. She is too young to speak or make a statement, doctors told the police.
An investigating officer told The Hindu that medical tests and preliminary investigation have revealed that the girl did not suffer sexual assault.
Another investigating officer said that they suspected that the girl could be a victim of black magic.
Medical tests have revealed that camphor and almond oil was used to cause the burns.
These material are used by black magicians on their victims. There is also a pattern in the location of the burns.
That made us suspicious, said the officer. It is possible that the parents of the girl or other relatives were involved in the offence, he said.
The District Police released a set of photographs of the rescued girl. Copies of the image have been sent to police in Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
“We are asking officers in those States for cases of missing children. We have not got any information so far,’’ Superintendent of Police Lakshman Nimbaragi said.
“We are requesting the general public to give us any information leading to the identity of the victim or the accused. We will act on the information, but maintain absolute secrecy about the name of the information provider,” the Superintendent of Police said.
The information can be given to members of the team led by Deputy Superintendent of Police S.V. Girish that is investigating the case or to the office of the Superintendent of Police directly.
Investigators are also studying a video clip allegedly showing the torture of a child. The clip, shot from a distance, features a man who mercilessly beats the girl who looks similar to the rescued child. While the man slaps the girl and beats her with a whip, a woman sitting nearby, smiles and laughs, as if she supports the man’s actions. The girl, who does not speak, makes loud sounds and cries, throughout the two-minute-and-14-second-long clip.
Another officer said that the video was widely shared on social media last week. “As of now, there is no evidence that this is the same girl from the video, but we are studying it from all angles,” the officer said.