Opposition parties on Tuesday targeted Home Minister Amit Shah over the death of a nine-year-old Dalit girl following an alleged sexual assault, questioning the law and order situation in the national capital, even as the Delhi Police said strict legal action has been taken against the accused.
The Delhi Commission for Women launched an inquiry into the incident and summoned the city police after the girl’s parents alleged that she was raped and her body was forcibly cremated by a crematorium priest who had falsely claimed that she was electrocuted.
“What was my daughter’s fault? How will I live without her?" the mother of the girl wailed as hundreds of locals, including the victim’s parents, staged a protest for the second day near the site of the incident in Old Nangal area in southwest Delhi, demanding capital punishment for the accused.
Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Azad also joined the protest and demanded justice for the child.
“My daughter went to get cold water from crematorium ground when the incident happened. The priest showed me her body for a very brief interval of time. My daughter’s lips were blue. The priest cremated my child without our consent," the girl’s mother alleged.
Police had on Monday said that based on the statement of the victim’s mother, rape charges have been added in the FIR. Four people, including the priest, have been arrested.
“The fire was doused by our community members who reached the spot and pulled the legs of my daughter. We need justice for her and the accused should get strict punishment," the girl’s mother said.
Only the burnt legs of the girl were recovered from the crematorium ground.
On Tuesday, the Delhi Police appealed to people not to believe in rumours and said that strict legal action has been taken under IPC, SC/ST Act and POCSO Act. “We appeal to people not to believe in rumours. Strict legal action has been taken under IPC, SC/ST Act and POCSO Act.
An ACP rank officer will be the investigating officer. All the accused have been arrested and sent to jail," the Deputy Commissioner of Police (southwest) said in a tweet.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that there is a need to improve the law and order situation in the national capital, adding that he will meet the victim’s family on Wednesday.
“The murder of a nine-year-old innocent in Delhi after subjecting her to brutality is very shameful. There is a need to improve the law and order situation in Delhi. The culprits should be given capital punishment at the earliest, the chief minister said in a tweet in Hindi.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said that Shah went to Uttar Pradesh to “distribute certificates" but was “unable to handle his own responsibility". She was referring to Shah’s visit to Uttar Pradesh earlier this week during which he praised the Yogi Adityanath government for taking the state to the “top spot" in law and order.
From Hathras to Nangal, there is “jungle raj", Priyanka Gandhi Vadra alleged. The Delhi Police comes under the Union Home Ministry.
“The home minister, who is responsible for maintaining law and order in Delhi, had gone to Uttar Pradesh to distribute certificates but is unable to handle his own responsibility," the Congress general secretary said. Tagging a media report on the incident, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi, “A Dalit’s daughter is also the daughter of the country."
TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee also trained his guns on Shah and alleged that the law and order situation in this country is in shambles “A 9-year-old girl was allegedly raped and forcibly cremated in the national capital, right under the watch of Mr @AmitShah! The law and order situation in this country is in shambles," Banerjee tweeted.
He also targeted Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana. “The harrowing experiences faced by our women & girls and members from the SC community on a daily basis, show just how INSENSITIVE the HM is," the TMC MP, who is also the nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, stated.
“Recently appointed Delhi CP Rakesh Asthana who is also a close aide of Mr @AmitShah – already failing his duties? Or does his appointment mean taking care of other businesses?" he added. Bhim Army chief and Dalit leader Chandra Shekhar Azad said that the case should be investigated properly.
“It was a lie that the girl died due to electrocution. They (accused) cremated her body without the presence of the family. We have heard that the parents of the girl were also pressured to give a statement accordingly," Azad told reporters here. The Delhi Commission for Women said that it has instituted an inquiry into the matter.
While stating that the case is “very serious" and merits “urgent attention", the panel has summoned the Deputy Commissioner of Southwest district to be present before it on August 5 and produce the complete case file of the matter along with a copy of FIR.
The girl lived with her parents in the village in a rented house in front of a crematorium. On Sunday at around 5.30 PM, she went to get cold water from a cooler at the crematorium after informing her mother, her parents said.
Around 6 PM, the crematorium’s priest, Radhey Shyam, and two-three other people, known to the girl’s mother, called her there and showed her daughter’s body claiming that she got electrocuted while getting water from the cooler.
There were burn marks between her left wrist and elbow, and her lips were also blue, a senior police officer had said.
It was alleged the priest and the others dissuaded her mother from making a PCR call, saying police will make a case out of it and during the post-mortem, doctors will steal the girl’s organs, so it was better to cremate her.
The girl was cremated but later the woman with her husband raised a hue and cry that it was done without their consent. A crowd of 200 villagers gathered there and a PCR call was made from the spot.
The PCR call was received at the Delhi Cantt police station around 10.30 PM on Sunday regarding the rape and death of a minor girl, following which a team rushed to the spot.