Amid widespread condemnation in Aligarh over the brutal murder of a toddler with gouged out eyes and mutilated body parts the Uttar Pradesh government suspended Sunday five police officials for dereliction of duty and constituted a special investigation team (SIT) under SP rural area (SPRA).
A 2.5-year-old baby went missing on May 31 from Tappal township and three days later she was found dead in a garbage dump, around 200m from her home. Two suspects identified as Aslam, 43, and Zahid, 27. were initially arrested and police said Twinkle Sharma was abducted and killed over a dispute of Rs 10,000 loan with parents.
One of the accused had a criminal history. He was booked under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POSCO) in 2014 for raping his own daughter. In 2017 he was booked under Goonda Act of the state.
According to Aligarh SSP Akash Kulhari one of the suspects had gone to jail in abduction case. He was bailed out by his wife.
A three-doctor team conducted postmortem of the girl and ruled out possibility of rape. They said she was strangulated to death.
The victim’s father said he failed to repay loan money to the accused and in revenge they have killed his daughter.
Meanwhile, massive outrage has triggered in the area. Candlelight protests were witnessed and protesters demanded prompt punishment for the perpetrators.
Aligarh Muslim University Teachers Association secretary Nazmul Hassan said the teachers have stood by the family of Twinkle demanding setting up of a fast-track court.
A Twitter hashtag in the name of the girl has gone viral and users including celebrities and politicians have demanded capital punishment.
Senior Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi said the crime is one more unspeakable and inhuman against an innocent child.
The state government is learned to be booking the two under National Security Act (NSA), which permits imprisonment of up to one year without any charge.
Zahid’s wife and brother, Shaista (32) and Mehndi Hasan respectively, were later arrested by SIT on charges of helping the accused. Police said Shaista’s clothes were used for draping body of the murdered girl.
Police added initially the victim’s body was hidden at the home of prime accuse and later thrown onto garbage dump as it started decomposing fast due to high summer temperature.
The Aligarh Bar Association announced Monday no lawyer would fight on behalf of the accused.
Crime against children has hiked steeply in India in past one decade. A data from national crime records bureau reveals nearly 2,000 children were murdered in 2016.