A man accused of raping and killing a three-year-old girl in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri district was arrested after an encounter with police on Friday, officials said. The main accused Lekharam, sustained a bullet injury in his leg during the gunfight near Bamhanpur village in Nighasan area. He was rushed to Nighasan health centre, where he is undergoing treatment.
“His condition is stated to be stable,” the official said. Deputy SP Nighasan Pradeep Kumar Verma, who was present at the native village of the girl, confirmed the arrest.
The girl’s body, which bore injury marks on the head, was recovered from the vicinity of her village in Singahi area on Thursday after she went missing on Wednesday, police said. This was the third such incident in the district during recent weeks.
“The postmortem report has confirmed rape. I am with family members right now. Seven of our teams are working on the case. I am myself going for combing in sugarcane fields and strict action will be taken against the accused,” Superintendent of Police, Satyendra Kumar Singh had earlier said.
The family alleged that their daughter was kidnapped and murdered due to old enmity. The victim’s father named Lekharam, who is from the same village, in his complaint, police said.
Initially suspected to be a case of murder, a panel of three doctors confirmed through an autopsy on Thursday that the victim had been raped and strangulated.
On August 26, a case emerged wherein a 17-year-old Dalit girl was found dead outside her village in Lakhimpur Kheri, raped and murdered after she had left home to fill out a scholarship application, police said. This was the second such case from the district in 10 days after a 13-year-old was also raped and strangulated in the area.
Amid criticism from politicians and other bodies, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had on August 27 directed officials to initiate strict action and invoke the stringent National Security Act against those involved in the alleged rape and murder of the 17-year-old Dalit girl.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had on August 27 also sent a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government and the state’s police chief over the incident.
(With inputs from PTI)