Chennai: Amid allegations from activists that the 17-year-old Dalit girl who was found dead in a well on January 14 in Ariyalur, police officials on Sunday denied the gang rape theory, but added that they are waiting for the forensic reports. Unfortunately, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) remained mum as no suo moto cognisance was passed, activists rued.
The girl, who was working as a casual labourer, was allegedly gang-raped and killed a month ago by her paramour, a caste Hindu, along with three of his friends. “It is a clear case of criminal conspiracy as the prime accused, Manikandan, murdered her for not aborting her one-and-a-half-month-old foetus. He suspected the paternity of the baby,” said sub-inspector, Special Branch, Ariyalur.
Delay in registering a complaint on the grounds of kidnap and obtaining a forensic report, a series of events since the girl went missing on December 29, strongly proves the discrimination in the progression of the case.
“We received a call from a person called Tamilarasan stating that the girl is with him. Rather than paying heed to it, police officials abused us saying, ‘You do not know how to raise a girl’,” said a family member of the victim.
“The accused, with close links to the secretary of Hindu Munnani, Raj Sekhar, is known for rowdyism. They instigate riots during church services in the pretext of protecting Hindus. As a result of their history of violence, we had to deal with the case sensitively in order to avoid further chaos,” said the sub inspector.
The 17-year-old is survived by her mother, elder brother and elder sister, who blame the cops for her death. Following the direction of District Collector Saravanavel Raja, the two prime accused were booked under Goonda’s Act - a preventive detention under which they will be lodged in prison for a year. “The four accused are slapped with sections of SC and ST (prevention of atrocities) Act, 1989, POCSO Act, rape and murder,” the collector told DC.
Attributing the delay in obtaining the chemical analysis report to the procedure, the Collector said, “The procedure is time-consuming. We are expecting the reports within the next two to three days.” Defending the police stand, DSP Jeyankondam told DC, “There was no one by the name of Tamilrasan when verified.”
“If the enquiry had progressed at the right time, she would have been still alive,” lamented the victim’s relative adding that the phone call was from Manikandan, who introduced himself as Tamilrasan.
Terming it as an indirect discrimination on the Dalit family, Executive Director of an NGO, ‘Evidence’, A. Kadir, who is rendering legal support for the family, said, “Discrimination need not be direct. The police had treated the family in an abusive manner, which is punishable under section 4 of the SC/ST Act. We have requested a special advocate selected by the NGO to be public prosecutor as the accused has strong political ties.”
29 December 2016: 17-year-old dalit girl goes missing after 8pm.
30 December 2016: Family lodged a Kidnap complaint. But police registered a Community Service Registry (CSR), terming it as a missing case.
5 January 2017: Police file an FIR and started the investigation. Victim’s friend confesses the relationship between the former and Manikandan. Manikandan goes absconding.
9 January 2017: Police conduct investigations on Manikandan’s friends. As one of his close aide, Arun, attempted suicide by consuming poison, investigations were directed towards him. Arun took the drastic step following an altercation with his parents.
12 January 2017: Manikandan is admitted in a private hospital, after consuming poison.
14 January 2017: In an extra judicial confession, Manikandan confesses to murder to the village administrative officer. Police arrest Manikandan, Victim’s body was found with her hands tied and brutal injuries. Political parties – BSP and VCK conduct Road Roko for arresting Manikandan. Victim’s body found in a decomposed state, samples sent to forensic department.
15 January 2017: Police arrest three of Manikandan’s friends, who were involved in the conspiracy.
5 February 2017: Waiting for the medical and forensic report to confirm the gang rape theory.