Bringing back memories of the 2012 brutal Nirbhaya gangrape and murder, the Shimla gangrape victim was also subjected to horrific torture. The five accused who first brutally raped her and then dumped her body in a forest after strangulating her to death.
Though the state police authorities are yet to make the post-mortem report public, victim’s family members tell a tale of spine-chilling torture which was meted out to the school girl.
“There were cigarette burn scars on her body. She was bitten over lips, cheek, breasts. A leg and an arm had fractures. She was subjected to inhuman treatment before she was murdered,” victim’s uncle and sister said.
Eyewitnesses said the victim bore scratch marks on her back, which proves she was thrown inside a pit after being killed. There are also allegations that the post-mortem report finds a very little mention of torture in it. Victim’s mother refused to buy the police theory and said, the actual perpetrators were roaming freely and the police tried to hush-up the case by merely arresting five labourers.
“The accused are roaming freely. The police has failed to arrest the actual perpetrators. The police first said it was a high profile case. But, when the people mounted pressure they arrested four labourers and a local, after 10 days. Had it been a high profile case, then why did it take 10 days to arrest two Nepalese and two Uttarakhand labourers. Were these labourers waiting for their arrest? This clearly shows that the police is hiding something,” victim’s mother said.
Victim’s family has refused to accept the police theory of murder and rape. The family now hopes that the CBI will do justice to the victim.
“We fear that the police may destroy the evidence. We trust CBI which is a national agency which will bring the truth forward. It’s almost 20 days. The police has failed to arrest the actual offenders. Those arrested are also not safe. This shows that the police is trying to hide something. The persons arrested are not the ones whose photos were released on social media. That’s why we demanded a CBI probe, so that they do not spoil the evidences,” says victim’s mother.
POLICE CLAIMS APPEAR TO BE RIDICULOUS
Having attracted criticism for botched-up investigation, the murder and rape theory findings of Shimla Police has not been accepted either by the victim’s family or the locals. The police said victim was gangraped and killed between 4.30 and 6 PM, at a place which is located between the two roads. Shanties of the labourers are also located close by. Interestingly, nobody heard the screams of the victim when she was being gangraped. This hints that the girl was raped and killed elsewhere and then body was dumped in the forest.
Police says, the victim was raped and killed at the same spot from where the body was recovered. This is a forest area and home to wild beasts. The body of the victim, according to the police was lying in the forest for two days when it was discovered by her uncle. However, no signs of wild animals mauling her body was found.
Another major loophole in police theory is that the school uniform worn by the victim was untouched. Only one sock was missing. There are allegations that the missing sock was recovered from the house of one of the accused.
The victim’s family fears that the evidences might get destroyed.
LOOPHOLES IN SHIMLA POLICE’s INVESTIGATION
Ignoring the safety of the accused, the police kept all five in a single cell. Incidentally, on July 18 when an alleged scuffle took place between the prime accused Rajinder Singh alias Raju and Suraj Singh, the police were unprepared to handle the situation. The guard on duty returned when Suraj was dead. Suraj’s wife has said he was killed by the police as he had threatened to reveal the truth.
Interestingly, the police is yet to recover the Mahindra Pick-up vehicle which was used to commit the crime. The vehicle belongs to the prime accused Raju who allegedly gave lift to the victim in the same vehicle. It is still lying in the village and the police did not seize it.
The police has also held one suspect named Ashish Chauhan alias Ashu for questioning, but later said it cracked the case with his help. He is still under the custody.
Other important point of the case which the CBI will be focussing are the allegation that the arrested suspects are not guilty, they were lured with money to save the actual perpetrators. There are also allegations about some dubious bank transactions which took place in a local bank.
Another fact which points fingers at police investigation is why four labourers did not abscond after committing such a heinous crime. Normally, the Nepali labourers involved in crimes in Shimla and other areas escape. Their families have claimed they were with them when the police claims the victim was raped.
“Those arrested are innocent. The village Panchayat President slapped them and the cop pointed a gun at Suraj Singh and pressurised him to confess the crime which he did not commit,” says Vinod, a fellow labourer who shared the accommodation with Suraj Singh, who died in the police lock-up after a scuffle with the prime accused Raju on July 18.
BACKGROUND OF THE CASE:
The 16-year-old school girl belongs to a poor family of Hilaila village under Kotkhai Tehsil of Shimla district. She would travel more than five kilometers to reach her school where she studied in the 10th standard. Her brother would accompany her usually, as the path meandered through a thick forest. On July 4, her brother did not accompany her as he was attending a sports meet. The victim left the school alone to her home. She met Raju, a neighbour, who offered her a lift in his vehicle. According to the police, other four accused are Suraj Singh, Subash Singh Bisht, Lokjan alias Chottu and Deepak alias Deepu. All were drunk. The accused according to the police stopped the vehicle in the middle of the forest and dragged the victim from the vehicle and raped her along with the labourers.
The family members informed the police when the victim did not return home. Her father feared that she was killed by a bear. Victim’s body was spotted after two days in the forest. Police inaction angered the locals which stormed the police station and set the vehicles on fire. The incident also sparked protests in other parts of the district and then the State. Public outrage forced the State government to order a CBI probe. The issue also reached Himachal High Court which ordered CBI to investigate the case. Accordingly, CBI has registered two cases one pertaining to the gang rape and murder and another to the custodial death of Suraj Singh on July 18.