The family of a 14-year-old girl who was allegedly gangraped and burned to death in Rajasthan’s Bhilwara district last week has alleged that the police did not act in a timely manner, The Indian Express reported on Monday.
The girl’s body was found on August 2 near a furnace where she had allegedly been set on fire by a group of men who have been accused of raping her. On Saturday, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot wrote in a tweet that seven persons have been arrested in the case.
However, family members of the girl have alleged that the police did not act as soon as they were informed about her disappearance. Her uncle claimed that if the police had acted immediately, the girl “may have been alive now, or at least we would have got her body for the last rites,” according to The Indian Express.
What is the family alleging?
The uncle said that on the day of the incident, the girl and her mother had gone to a field to graze their goats. The mother then went to her parents’ home and when she returned, she could not find the girl. She asked a group of nomads who were staying in the field about the girl, but they did not give a satisfactory answer, The Indian Express reported.
When the girl did not return till evening, one of her cousins went to file a police complaint. However, the police did not register a missing person report and asked the family to produce the girl’s age proof, marksheets and other documents. The police also asked the cousin to come back the next morning.
As the family kept searching for the girl, they found some bones and jewellery in a coal furnace next to where the nomads were living. When the family members accosted the nomads, they admitted that two of them had raped the girl, The Indian Express reported.
At a press conference on Saturday, Ajmer Inspector General of Police Lata Manoj Kumar said that the station house officer of the local police station and an assistant sub-inspector who was on duty, have been suspended for laxity, according to The Times of India.
Kalu Lal (21) and Kanha Lalu (25), the two prime suspects are among the seven persons arrested, Kumar also said. Four others and a minor, accused of abetting the crime, had been held earlier. On Saturday, the police also detained the wives of the two prime suspects for questioning.
The two prime accused have been charged for gangrape and murder and have also been booked under sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. The police have said that the other accused persons helped in burning the girl’s body in the furnace.
The incident has sparked political outrage, with the Bharatiya Janata Party accusing the Gehlot-led Congress government of being negligent about women’s security.
On Sunday, a four-member team of women MPs of the BJP met the girl’s family members in Bhilwara. “The state government should immediately resign,” said Saroj Pandey, one of the MPs, The Indian Express reported. “Neither has the government met the girl’s family or given compensation. This is the height of being unempathetic. The negligence is of the entire administration.”