The police in Gujarat’s Surat have intensified security in the district as tension mounted over the alleged rape and murder of a three-year-old girl, PTI reported. Surat Police Commissioner Satish Sharma said a migrant worker from Bihar has been identified as a suspect in the case.
The child’s body was found in a locked apartment in the building she lived in Surat on Monday.
“The situation is tense [in some pockets of Surat] not because the suspect is from Bihar, but because such an incident has happened,” Sharma said. “People are asking why such an incident took place. They [locals] are not against people from Uttar Pradesh or Bihar.”
The state police increased vigil in Surat as a precautionary measure in the wake of violence against migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar after a Bihar native allegedly raped a child in Sabarkantha district on September 28. The violence sparked an exodus of over 60,000 Hindi-speaking people from the state.
Sharma said police teams have been sent to Bihar to locate the suspect. “We have also made different teams to trace the accused in neighbouring areas… We have added sections like rape, murder, atrocity and POCSO [Protection of Children from Sexual Offences],” The Indian Express quoted Sharma as saying. He said additional police personnel have been deployed in Surat and urged residents to remain calm.
Sharma said the suspect, whose identity has been withheld, was known to the child’s family. The child and her parents, who are from Maharashtra, lived on the first floor of a house in Godadara locality, while the suspect lived on the ground floor of the house, where the body was found, he said.
The suspect had joined in the search for the girl when she was reported missing. However, his mobile phone was switched off from the morning of October 15.
Meanwhile, in Vadodara, six construction workers and a civil engineer, all from Bihar, were assaulted for “wearing lungi” on Monday evening, reported The Indian Express.