A case of a 9-year-old Dalit girl dying under suspicious circumstances was registered on Monday in New Delhi. As per reports, the parents of the minor alleged that their daughter was cremated without their consent.
Here’s what happened
The 9-year-old girl was living with her parents in a rented house opposite a crematorium in Southwest Delhi’s Old Nangal Village. The girl reportedly went to get cold water from the crematorium’s water cooler at 5:30 pm on Sunday informing her mother.
However, at 6 pm, the crematorium’s priest and two-three people known to the mother rushed to her home to inform them about their daughter’s death. They claimed that the girl got electrocuted while taking water from the water cooler.
DCP South-West, Ingit Pratap Singh while speaking to media had said, “A minor girl cremated without her parents’ consent at Old Nangal crematorium last night after she was allegedly found dead there. FIR registered on basis of her mother’s statement. Crematorium’s priest taken into custody. FSL & crime team collected samples from spot.”
A minor girl cremated without her parents’ consent at Old Nangal crematorium last night after she was allegedly found dead there. FIR registered on basis of her mother’s statement. Crematorium’s priest taken into custody. FSL & crime team collected samples from spot: Delhi Police— ANI (@ANI) August 2, 2021
The girl’s mother also alleged that the priest and other workers had dissuaded them from filing a police complaint and complete the cremation. After the girl was cremated the girl’s parents staged protests and gathered around 200 villagers.
The police received the complaint at around 10:30 pm after which they rushed to the spot to diffuse the situation. “The woman gave her statement and a case was registered under relevant sections. The priest was taken into custody and an FSL team and a crime team were called to collect evidence from the scene,” informed Singh.
The next day, on August 03 (Tuesday), the officer further said that the case has been handed over to the ACP. He also informed that additional charges under POCSO Act, SC/ST Act & other relevant sections were added against the accused.
Delhi | We’ve registered case on basis of the deceased’s mother. She said that her daughter was raped. We’ve added POCSO Act, SC/ST Act & other relevant sections. We’ve handed over the case to ACP. Four people working in the crematorium arrested: DCP South-West,Ingit Pratap Singh pic.twitter.com/UMaqW75Ad4— ANI (@ANI) August 3, 2021
“She alleged that her daughter was raped and casteist statements were made against them. Sections under the POCSO Act, SC/ST Act, and IPC sections 302, 376, and 506 were then added to the FIR,” Singh informed said.
Cause of death not determined
The police informed that the cause of death and the sequence of events have not been determined. An investigation into the matter is underway. Commenting on the ongoing investigation, Singh said, “Yesterday, postmortem was done on her remaining body parts. Informally, the board of doctors said they can’t reach any conclusion about the cause of death. We’ll handover the mortal remains soon to family for last rites.”
As per an Indian Express report, the girl’s body was pulled off the funeral pyre midway through the cremation, because of which only charred remains could be recovered.
We collected evidence from the main accused’s house and all the biological evidence from the body of the accused. FSL team also tested the water cooler, the report is awaited. As the investigation progresses, we’ll seek remand of accused: DCP South-West, Ingit Pratap Singh— ANI (@ANI) August 4, 2021
“We collected evidence from the main accused’s house and all the biological evidence from the body of the accused. FSL team also tested the water cooler, the report is awaited. As the investigation progresses, we’ll seek remand of accused,” he added.
Opposition cries foul
Leaders from the opposition parties are demanding justice for the minor allegedly raped and murdered. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday, violating the POCSO Act, rushed to meet the victim’s family.
“I spoke with the family, they want justice & nothing else. They’re saying that justice is not being given to them & they should be helped. We will do that. I have said that I am standing with them. Rahul Gandhi is standing with them until they get justice,” Gandhi said in an interview to ANI.
After meeting the family, speaking with them in a car and revealing their identity on a public platform, Gandhi Tweeted, “The tears of her mother and father say just one thing – their daughter, the country’s daughter, deserves justice. And I am with them in this path to justice.”
माता-पिता के आँसू सिर्फ़ एक बात कह रहे हैं-— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 4, 2021
उनकी बेटी, देश की बेटी न्याय की हक़दार है।
और इस न्याय के रास्ते पर मैं उनके साथ हूँ। pic.twitter.com/ewgzGkWrHd
Some BJP leaders have taken strong objection to Gandhi politicizing a gruesome crime as rape. Sambit Patra- a BJP spokesperson said, “His (Rahul Gandhi) tweet violates sec 23 of POCSO Act & sec 74 of Juvenile Justice Care & Protection of Children Act that prohibits revealing the minor’s identity. He revealed identity of child’s family & is using the issue for his political agenda.”
Delhi | I appeal to the National Commission of Protection of Child Rights to take strict action under the POCSO Act and a notice must be issued to him. No one is a VIP. Rahul Gandhi must be answerable to this: Sambit Patra, BJP Spokesperson pic.twitter.com/juFYWK4BLV— ANI (@ANI) August 4, 2021
“I appeal to the National Commission of Protection of Child Rights to take strict action under the POCSO Act and a notice must be issued to him. No one is a VIP. Rahul Gandhi must be answerable to this,” Patra urged.
“Hang the culprits at the earliest” says Kejriwal
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday demanded capital punishment for the accused. He too is expected to meet the bereaved family today.
“The murder of a 9-year-old innocent in Delhi after the rape is very shameful. There is a need to improve law and order in Delhi. The culprits should be given capital punishment at the earliest,” Kejriwal Tweeted in Hindi.
दिल्ली में 9 साल की मासूम के साथ हैवानियत के बाद हत्या बेहद शर्मनाक है। दिल्ली में कानून-व्यवस्था दुरुस्त किए जाने की ज़रुरत है। दोषियों को जल्द से जल्द फांसी की सज़ा मिलनी चाहिए।— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) August 3, 2021
कल पीड़ित परिवार से मिलने जा रहा हूं, न्याय की इस लड़ाई में परिवार की हर संभव मदद करेंगे।
He also assured the family that he will do “everything possible to help the family in this fight for justice.” It must be noted that the Delhi Chief Minister too swung into action two days after the crime was first reported as other opposition parties joined in to protest.
“Will shave my head” threatens Derek O’Brien
Targetting the ruling party, TMC leader Derek O’Brien said that if the Home Minister comes to Parliament and makes a statement on Delhi rape case, he will shave his head.
O’Brien with this statement was trying to target Union Home Minister Amit Shah who was not seen in the Parliamentary proceedings.
Uproar in Parliament
Despite an ongoing investigation and arrest of the accused named in the complaint, the opposition created a ruckus in the parliament. Congress MP Shaktisinh Gohil moved a motion seeking a debate on the alleged rape and murder incident.
Gohil was joined by other opposition members demanding a statement from the Centre over the alleged crime. The opposition members were also holding placards demanding justice for the victim.
The accused arrested in the case are Radhey Shyam (55), a priest at the cremation ground, and three other employees – Kuldeep Kumar (63), Laxmi Narain (48) and Mohd Salim (49).