The teenager from Unnao district in Uttar Pradesh, who was among three girls found unconscious in a field on February 17, was taken off ventilator support on Saturday, The Hindu reported, quoting a statement from the Kanpur hospital treating her.
The girl was “off ventilator and has spontaneous respiration” three days after she was admitted to the hospital at 11 pm on Wednesday, the medical bulletin issued by the Regency Hospital said. She was being treated in the pediatric intensive care unit and was under constant monitoring.
The incident occurred in Babuhara village under Asoha police station in Unnao district on February 17, when the three girls had gone to get fodder for their cattle. Their family members found them lying in their field in an unconscious state after they did not return by evening, the police said. Doctors declared the two of them dead on arrival at a nearby hospital. The two girls were cremated on Friday amid heavy security, while the third one was taken to the Kanpur hospital.
The Uttar Pradesh Police on Friday arrested two persons from the neighbouring village for allegedly giving the girls water laced with insecticide. One of the accused, who was initially said to be a teenager, turned out to be a major, the police said. This was reportedly established through the Aadhaar card that was provided by the family, according to The Hindu. The police will look into any other age proof documents to prove the family’s claim that their son was 13.
“We didn’t know that his age was 19 as per the Aadhaar card,” the accused’s mother said. “We only got to know when the police asked for it. We are illiterate so we gave whatever date we were advised when we had his Aadhar card made.”
Both of them were sent to 14-day judicial custody by a local court on Saturday, according to PTI.
The police have added a charge for poisoning after one of the accused confessed. Unnao Superintendent of Police Sureshrao A Kulkarni said that Indian Penal Code Sections 328 (punishment for administering a poison or unwholesome drug) was added to the FIR. He said that the FIR already included charges under Section 302 (punishment for murder) and Section 201 (removing evidence), reported The Hindu.
Family demands CBI inquiry
The families of the girls, however, remained unconvinced, saying they were no closer to finding out what exactly happened that day.
“I will believe it when my sister wakes up and I hear from her what happened,” the brother of the girl in hospital, told The Hindu. “We still want a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry.”
“Only the officers know what happened,” said the grandmother of one of the girls.
FIR filed against Congress leader Udit Raj
Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh Police have booked Congress leader Udit Raj for allegedly spreading fake news that the teenaged girls were raped, and that their bodies were cremated against the will of the family. A first information report was registered with the Sadar Kotwali police station against Raj.
In a tweet on Friday, Raj had said that he spoke to Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former MP Savitri Bai Phule, who managed to meet the family of the girls with much difficulty after the police gave her permission. “The victims’ family members said the girls had been raped and the bodies were cremated against their wishes,” Raj quoted Phule as saying.
Superintendent of Police Anand Kulkarni told PTI that the claims made in the tweet were far from the facts emerging in the postmortem report. He called Raj’s comments an attempt to create anger through misleading rumours.
Raj maintained that he made the claims after talking to Phule who went to meet the family personally. “I have also given reference of Phule in the tweet,” he added. The Congress leader also hit out at the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, alleging that the administration there was lodging cases against all those who dare to raise their voices.
On Saturday, a seven-member delegation of Samajwadi Party leaders also met the family of the girls, and took details of the case. “We have assured them that we are with them in this hour of crisis and would make all efforts to ensure that they get justice,” former MP Annu Tandon told PTI.