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10 Days on, Identity of Surat Rape Victim Yet to Be Ascertained

In yet another case, rape of a minor girl has been reported in Gujarat’s Rajkot on Sunday. The mother of the 9-year-old victim approached the Rajkot police with a complaint that a 22 –year-old neighbour had raped her daughter on three occasions in the past month.

Meghdoot Sharon | News18

Updated:April 16, 2018, 3:05 PM IST
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10 Days on, Identity of Surat Rape Victim Yet to Be Ascertained
Representative image (News18 Creatives)
Ahmedabad: Ten days after the dead body of an 11-year-old girl was recovered with as many as 86 injuries on her body, the Surat police is yet to crack the case. The identity of the girl, her family and the perpetrators of the crime remain unknown even as the police have widened the scope of investigation by roping in law enforcement from other states as well.

The case closely follows the now infamous Kathua rape-murder case which has the country up in arms for the past week over the brutal torture, rape and subsequent killing of an 8-year-old in Jammu.

Meanwhile, Surat police has registered a case against three persons – Irfan Anjum, Asmita Das and Mohammed Sartaj – for spreading false news about the case. The three either tweeted or posted on Facebook stating that an ABVP leader, Harish Thakur, was involved in the rape and murder of the minor. In a press release, the Surat police said that the Crime Branch has registered an offence against the three under Section 505 (1) (b) of the Indian Penal Code.

Police in Surat has, in the past few days, scanned missing persons reports lodged in the past month or so from all police stations of the city, as well as records from the district and neighbouring districts of Surat. None of the reports match with those of the victim. More importantly, the parents or family of the girl have also not been traced yet. This has lent credence to the theory that the crime could have been committed elsewhere and the body was dumped near a cricket field in Bhestan locality of Surat, where it was consequently found.

“We are in touch with police of other states in a bid to establish the identity of the victim. Right now, it does appear as if there is a strong possibility of the girl being either from Odisha or West Bengal. Our efforts are focused on Odisha. The spot from where the body was recovered is barely a kilometre away from the Surat–Palsana highway. We are also looking for evidence in the form of CCTV footage to examine the possibility of the body being brought there in a vehicle,” Satish Sharma, Commissioner of Police, Surat City, told the media on Sunday.

Surat police has announced a phone number on which people can provide information, if any, about the girl, her family or the killers. Apart from this, the police have also announced a cash reward for those who provide information about the case to the police.

Meanwhile, the Congress has taken potshots at the BJP over the inability of the police to crack the case, ten days after the girl’s body was recovered.

“The BJP keeps giving slogans regarding the safety of women and children. It has been almost ten days since the girl’s body was recovered but there has been no headway at all so far,” senior Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil said.

State BJP president Jitu Vaghani, when confronted over the incident, said, “Every attempt is being made by the police to crack the case. Top police officers have been asked to monitor the investigation of the case.”

Meanwhile, yet another case of rape of a minor girl has been reported in Gujarat’s Rajkot on Sunday. The mother of the 9-year-old victim approached the Rajkot police with a complaint that a 22 –year-old neighbour had raped her daughter on three occasions in the past month.

Based on the complaint, the police on Monday arrested the accused Murli Bharwad. The accused is a neighbour of the victim and had raped her when she was alone. He also threatened the girl not to speak to anybody about the rape.

Rajkot police officials said that based on the complaint, the police has booked Bharwadfor rape under provisions of the POCSO Act, among other charges.

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