Patna: The gruesome killing of a 16-year-old girl in Bihar's Gaya district has taken a new turn, with the family members of the deceased alleging that they were subjected to third-degree torture to admit the incident to be a case of honour killing.
The deceased girl's elder sister told mediapersons on Saturday that the police built pressure on her father and other family members to confess that the victim had returned home on the night of 31 December and was subsequently thrashed for eloping with her fiancé on 28 December.
The victim's elder sister also alleged that her mother was given electric shocks at the local police station where they were detained for interrogation. "I was also badly beaten up by the men in uniform. But my mother was tortured in a separate room and was given electric shocks," she told reporters.
She further said, "I gave a false statement to the police out of fear." The police, on the other hand, claimed that the deceased's eight -year-old sister told the interrogators that the victim had returned home on 31 December and was handed over to a family acquaintance by her father.
The family members said they couldn't oppose the police action as the cops had threatened them with dire consequences. The victim's elder sister alleged, "The police had threatened that they would get me declared mentally challenged."
The allegation of the victim's sister against the police has raised eyebrows. The residents of the area, who mostly belong to the weaver community, have decided to fight for justice. They have launched an indefinite agitation and demanded a CBI probe into the incident. Around 1,200 handlooms in the locality have stopped production since Friday as a mark of protest. People of Gaya also took out candle marches on Wednesday and Thursday.
The convenor of Manpur Vikas Sangarsh Morcha Rajeev Kumar Kanhaiya said that the police described the incident to be a case of honour killing without any evidence. "The murder weapon has not so far been recovered and even the place of occurrence is yet to be ascertained. On what basis is the police terming it to be a case of honour killing?," he asked.
Raising questions about the police investigation, the deceased's neighbour said, "Will any father allow anybody to chop off his teenaged daughter's breast? The torn clothes of the victim suggested that she had been gangraped and her body was dumped to destroy evidence. The police is trying to hush up the incident as the goons involved in it have political backing."
The chairman of the Manpur Cotton Industry Committee Prem Narain Patwa expressed surprise over the police action and said that the police jumped to the conclusion without any evidence. "The police is working under political pressure," he added.
Patwa also expressed surprise over the silence maintained by the Opposition party leaders on the incident. "Had the incident taken place in the national capital or the state capital, it would have snowballed into a major issue," he said.
The police on Friday formally arrested the girl's father and his friend, and produced them in the local court, which sent them to 14-day judicial custody. They have been booked on charges of hatching a conspiracy to eliminate the minor girl, who had gone missing on 28 December. The girl's mutilated body was found on the Gaya-Khijarsarai road on 6 January.
The girl's father had lodged a missing case with the Buniyadganj police station in Gaya district on 4 January after his frantic search for her went in vain. Two days later, her body was recovered with her head, breast and one hand chopped off with a sharp object. Her head was found about three hundred metres away from the decomposed body.
Gaya senior superintendent of police (SSP) Rajeev Mishra said that the police investigation is proceeding in the right direction. He refuted the allegation levelled by the victim's kin, and said that the police would act on the basis of evidence and not merely on statements.
"The case is under investigation. The autopsy report is awaited. We will be able to make any comment on the cause of death only after the receipt of the post-mortem report," Mishra added.
Gaya sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) Abhijeet Singh said that three more suspects have been detained for interrogation. According to police sources, the person who was said to be the fiancé of the victim has also been picked up for interrogation.
The family members of the victim's acquaintance, who was arrested by the police in the case on Friday, however, said that he had gone on a picnic tour with around 50-60 residents of the district on 31 December and returned to Gaya the next day. "How can he be involved in the killing?," they asked.
Taking a dig at the law and order situation in the state, former Rajya Sabha member and senior RJD leader Shivanand Tiwary said, "The fear of law is gone. Heinous crime such as murders and rapes have become the order of the day. The Gaya incident is no exception."
Bihar recorded a total of 1,304 incidents of rape in 2018. In 2005, when Chief Minister Nitish Kumar came to power, 973 cases of rape were reported in the state.
(Ramashankar Mishra is a Patna - based freelance writer and a member of 101Reporters.com)
Updated Date: Jan 12, 2019 18:43:14 IST