In Dalit girl’s alleged rape and murder case in Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal orders magisterial inquiry
The Delhi Commission for Women has launched an investigation and summoned the police.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said his government will order a magisterial investigation into the case of alleged rape, murder and forcible cremation of a nine-year-old Dalit girl in South West Delhi. The announcement came as protests calling for the death penalty for the accused continued on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Commission for Women has launched an investigation and summoned the police.
Four persons – Radhey Shyam, Kuldeep, Laxmi Narayan and Salim – were arrested on Monday. Shyam, 55, is the priest of a crematorium in Delhi’s Cantonment area where the alleged rape and murder took place. The other three men are all acquaintances of the girl’s mother.
The girl had gone to get water from the crematorium’s cooler on Sunday evening when the incident took place, the police said. Around 6 pm, the priest called her mother and showed her daughter’s body, claiming that she died by electrocution.
Shyam also coerced her into cremating the body immediately. “I wanted to call the police but he wouldn’t listen,” the mother told Newslaundry. “He told me: ‘You will be ruined. You are so poor, how will you fight a case? Your child will be cremated. There’s no need to call anyone.”
She added that the priest also closed the gates of the crematorium. “What had to happen has happened,” mother recalled the priest as saying. “Now why are you screaming? Let’s finish this. And then he set my child on fire.”
The mother also told the media that she believed that her daughter had been raped because of the rushed cremation.
The police said that only the legs of the girl were recovered and it would be very difficult to ascertain whether she was raped or not.
The accused have been booked for gangrape, murder and other relevant section of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Act.
Parents of the minor and locals protest
Hundreds of locals, including the minor girl’s parents, have been staging a protest near the site of the crime in the Old Nangal area, calling for capital punishment for the accused, reported PTI. Residents of Purana Nangal village in the Cantonment area have said the case should be properly investigated.
The girl’s parents also claimed that they were taken to the Delhi Cantonment police station after the incident and were made to sit there for next 15 hours, according to Newslaundry. “We were given food only the next day,” the mother alleged, adding that her husband was beaten up by a man in civilian clothes.
Meanwhile, the family has said they will continue to protest until the culprits are hanged.
Politicians condemn incident
Several politicians have met the minor’s family and extended their support to them.
Kejriwal, who met the child’s family on Wednesday, has promised to seek justice for the nine-year-old. The Delhi chief minister also announced that a compensation of Rs 10 lakh would be provided to the girl’s family.
“Our girl cannot come back,” Kejriwal said, according to PTI. “The injustice done to the family is unfortunate and cannot be compensated, but the government will give Rs 10 lakh to them and order a magisterial inquiry into the matter.”
The chief minister also said that his administration will get top lawyers to ensure that the guilty are punished. “The central government should take strict steps to improve the law and order situation in Delhi, we will cooperate fully,” Kejriwal tweeted.
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi also met the girl’s family on Wednesday. “The daughter of a Dalit is also a daughter of this country,” he had tweeted before meeting them.
After the meeting the family, Gandhi tweeted: “Tears of [the girl’s] parents convey...she deserves justice...I will support them in the path to justice.”
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati demanded stringent action against the culprits in the case. “The brutal murder of a nine-year-old Dalit girl after rape and then burning her body in Nangal village of Delhi Cantonment is very sad and shameful,” she wrote in a tweet in Hindi. “BSP demands strict action against the culprits and necessary steps to prevent recurrence of such incidents.”
Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Azad and his party members met the protestors on Tuesday. Azad demanded strict and immediate action in the case.
“It was a lie that the girl died due to electrocution,” Azad told reporters. “We have heard that the parents of the girl were also pressurised to give a statement accordingly.”