On September 14, Bijnor Police have arrested a palledar (loader) identified as Shahzad alias Khadim for the brutal murder of a 24-year-old national Kho Kho player who belonged to the Dalit community.
In a statement, Superintendent of Police Dharamveer Singh said that when Shahzad attacked the young girl, she was talking on the phone with her friend. Shahzad, a drug addict, was detained by Police based on the physical, electronic and circumstantial evidence. As per the Police, Shahzad has confessed to the crime.
In a video statement, Singh said, “On September 10, the dead body of 24-year-old Kho Kho player was found near the Railway station’s platform. She was killed by strangulation. The Police have arrested Shahzad alias Khadim in the case. He was arrested from his home in Adampur village that is 1.5 KM from Bijnor. He works as a loader at the railway station. Shahzad was previously jailed three times in theft-related cases on railway station under RP ACT.”
.@bijnorpolice थाना कोतवाली शहर क्षेत्रान्तर्गत हुए बबली हत्याकाण्ड का अनावरण, अभियुक्त शहजाद उर्फ खादिम की गिरफ्तारी के सम्बन्ध मे पुलिस अधीक्षक बिजनौर की बाईट Part-1#UPPolice pic.twitter.com/MrPHfPpIza— Bijnor Police (@bijnorpolice) September 14, 2021
He further added, “He came to the Railway Station for work. Shahzad saw the victim when she was going via Railway Station in the morning. When she was coming back, he attacked her with the intention of rape. She was killed in a pathway near the platform using her own dupatta and a rope. When she was attacked, she was talking on the phone with her friend.”
.@bijnorpolice थाना कोतवाली शहर क्षेत्रान्तर्गत हुए बबली हत्याकाण्ड का अनावरण, अभियुक्त शहजाद उर्फ खादिम की गिरफ्तारी के सम्बन्ध मे पुलिस अधीक्षक बिजनौर की बाईट Part-2 #UPPolice pic.twitter.com/McSmMYEHcP— Bijnor Police (@bijnorpolice) September 14, 2021
Singh said that Shahzad heard some people coming towards the platform, due to which he could not sexually assault her and strangulated her to stop her from screaming. “Her phone was ringing, so Shahzad took the phone with him. The friend who was talking to the victim had informed the locals. The Police were informed, after which the dead body was found by the investigating team.
The Police found a slipper near the dead body. The other slipper was found a few meters away. There were struggle marks on Shahzad when he was arrested. The Police also recovered the shirt with bloodstains. Though his wife had washed the shirt, the stains were still visible. The Police had recovered buttons near the dead body which were from the shirt that the Police recovered from Shahzad’s house.”
Details of the incident
The young victim, a national-level athlete, was looking forward to becoming a sports teacher. On Friday, she went to submit her resume for a job in a local private school. The route she took via Railway Station was the route she always took as the Railway Station was hardly 100 meters away from her house. When her dead body was first recovered, the family suspected rape, but it was ruled out in the medical report. However, later Shahzad confessed that he grabbed her with the intention of rape but could not do so and killed her.
The young girl was the second of the four children in the house. While her elder sister works as a tubewell operator, the younger ones are still studying. Her father is a daily wage worker, while her mother works as domestic help. She belongs to the few Dalit families living around Railway Station in Bijnor.
Her elder sister told The Print that she regularly participated in Kho Kho competitions, and even if the events happened without competition, she would happily participate in them. Apart from trophies, she brought gifts after winning sports competitions, including bags, crockery items and blankets.
Her sister said, “She was a very talented girl… She was keen to make her career in sports. Not just Kho Kho, she used to participate in every possible sport she got a chance to — whether it was basketball or athletics. She was helping the family financially by providing tuition. How will my parents and small brothers live now?”
Mukul Kumar, secretary, district Kho Kho association in Bijnor, recalled her as one of the most promising athletes. He said, “She couldn’t get into the UP team in 2016 as it was very competitive, so she gave trials in Bihar and got selected in their team for the national championship. She once got into the UP team, but due to viral fever, she couldn’t participate in the national camp.”
Her mother said, “My daughter used to help me with household chores and manage her outdoor activities and job as well… She was preparing to leave for college in a few days. I gave my kids education by working as a daily wager.”
The phone went off at around noon
The victim had left home to submit her resume at DDPS School at around 11:40 AM on September 10. Around 2 PM, her family tried to contact her on her phone, but it was switched off. At 2:30 PM, a relative informed the family that a woman’s body was lying in the pile of cement railway sleepers behind their house. When the family reached the spot, they found her tiffin, bag and certificates scattered near her body. She was rushed to Beena Prakash Hospital, where she was declared brought dead.
Confusion over the jurisdiction
The Police were informed immediately, but allegedly there was confusion between the jurisdiction among Government Railway Police (GRP) and the Bijnor Police. However, a Police officer of GRP Najiabad ruled out any conflict among departments over jurisdiction.
The FIR was finally registered at around 10 PM under Sections 302 (murder), 201 (destruction of evidence) and 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code. Rape was later ruled out. The case was then transferred to the city Police. Once Shahzad was arrested, Police added Section 511 (attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment) was added to the FIR.
Sarvez Khan, GRP sub-inspector, said, “The nearest railway station was Najibabad, which is 40 km away. The case was registered at 10 PM, but the details were noted at around 8 PM. It takes 1.5 hours to reach the Najibabad police station. Before that, they had also taken the girl to the hospital.” DIG Moradabad, Shalabh Mathur, is also overseeing the case.
‘I had bad thoughts about her’, said Shahzad
During interrogation, Shahzad confessed to the crime and said that the victim was regularly seen near the railway station while commuting. “I would often have bad thoughts about her. That day, I did not have any work, so I was sitting on the tracks and was having ganja (marijuana). I saw her passing from there around 12, and I kept waiting for her to return.”
The Police said as the girl returned to cross the Railway Station, he pulled her towards a corner to rape her. But the victim struggled and started screaming, and he heard someone coming towards them. He panicked and to silence her, he strangulated her with a rope and her own dupatta. When she fell unconscious, he picked up the rope and her mobile phone and ran from the spot.
The Police traced the location of the mobile phone near Shahzad’s house. Based on the evidence, he was detained. Police recovered the rope and bloodstained shirt from his house. He also had struggle marks on his neck, face and chest that shows the brave girl had given a strong fight to save herself. Reportedly, when the Police found her body, her hair was scrambled, and there was blood on her mouth. Her tooth was found broken. The cause of death was determined as strangulation.