On Tuesday, the Jharkhand police recovered the body of a 22-year-old medical student named Puja Bharti Purve from Patratu Dam near Ranchi. The incident has triggered a social media outrage, prompting netizens to demand justice and fair investigation from Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren. She was a resident of Godda and a student at the Sheikh Bhikhari Medical College in Hazaribagh.
The autopsy, conducted under the supervision of a three-member medical board, has confirmed that Puja died due to drowning. During the post-mortem, the doctors did not find injury marks on her body or private parts. The police have sent the victim’s undergarments, vaginal swab, nail clippers, ropes and other items to the State Forensic Science Laboratory (SFL) to probe the angle of rape, as per a report in Jagran.
As per the CCTV footages and police investigation so far, Puja left her home in a normal condition and did not return even after 6 pm on Tuesday, when the main gate is closed. She had boarded an AC bus from Hazaribagh and arrived in Ranchi, although the bus driver failed to identify the exact location where he dropped her. The victim’s body was recovered from the dam, with her hands and legs tied up.
Police investigation and the curious case of ‘second phone’
Reportedly, the victim had a second phone, which has been missing ever since the incident. The investigating team is of the view that the phone would help solve the mystery in the case. As such, the cops are scanning the ‘call drop’ records in the area, where Puja was found dead.
The case is being investigated by 17 teams from 3 districts, namely, Hazaribagh, Ranchi and Ramgarh. The police is also investigating the footage from CCTV cameras, located in Buti More and Kanke Road. Deputy Inspector General of Police (Hazaribagh) AV Homkar has been supervising the probe in the case. On Wednesday, he visited the medical college and interrogated the Principal and others.
The Patratu police station has lodged a case of murder against unidentified people. On Wednesday, SDPO (Patratu) Prakash Chandra Mahato reached the crime scene for further examination. At the same time, divers were sent underwater to find crucial evidence in connection to the case. The police is also scanning CCTV footage of hotels, in the vicinity of dam, besides Patratu Lake Resort.
Netizens demand #JusticeForPujaBharti
After the news of the Puja Bharti’s murder came to light, netizens took to social media to demand justice for the victim. A user wrote, “A medical student raped and murdered brutally. The government should need to take strict action against this case. RIP puja bharti.” It must be clarified that the rape angle has not been established as of yet.
“Due to some criminal mindset, our daughters, sisters are being murdered and raped ,such ill mentality people should be hanged. Justice for puja Bharti, Hazaribagh medical student who is brutally murdered and drowned alive,” another user wrote.
#JusticeForPujaBharti Due to some criminal mindset, our daughters, sisters are being murdered and raped ,such ill mentality people should be hanged.— samita sharma (@samitas53375357) January 14, 2021
Justice for puja Bharti, Hazaribagh medical student who is brutally murdered and drowned alive #मकर_संक्रांति #MakaraSankranthi pic.twitter.com/AU2G5GGN8m
“What is happening in this country? I am speechless. This is very cruel. We want justice for puja bharti,” tweeted another user.
Many social media users pointed out that the Jharkhand police have not been able to apprehend the accused, even after three days of the recovery of the victim’s body.