In the never-ending reports of brutality towards girls and women in India, three minor sisters between the ages of six and 11 were raped and murdered before their bodies were dumped in a village well in the Bhandara district of north-eastern Maharashtra.
The police initially registered a case of accidental death, but a post-mortem conducted on Monday at Bhandara confirmed s*xual abuse and murder, police said. The case has now been registered under sections 376, 302 and 201 of the Indian Penal Code against unidentified persons.
The girls, Tanuja Borkar, 11, her sisters Prachi, 9, and Priya, 6, had gone missing from their village Murmadi in Lakhni block on February 14. On February 16, their school bags and footwear were found near the well in which their bodies were dumped.
The girls are survived by their mother and parents whilst their father had died a few years ago. According to district superintendent Aarti Singh, the girls’ family has said there was no old enmity but it is suspected that it could be the work of acquaintances. They were last seen at 1.30 pm on February 14 when the eldest girl had gone to the school of the younger sister to tell her that her mother had invited them for lunch. The schools are in Lakhni town, about half a kilometre from the village.
Union Minister Praful Patel, who represents the Bhandara-Gondia parliamentary constituency, visited the grieving widow on Tuesday and has asked Home minister R.R. Patil for a speedy investigation and a fast track trial of the culprits. He told reporters in Nagpur, “I am totally shocked and pained by the incident. The culprits should be nabbed and hanged for this.”
Inspector General of Police Rajendra Singh, who has been sent to Bhandara said, “In the last three days, we have questioned hundreds of people. We will find the culprits soon.”
In Mumbai, Patil, on Tuesday, suspended Lakhni police station officer Prakash Munde for dereliction of duty as he did not act on the complaint of the children’s grandfather on February 14 that the girls were missing. Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan condemned the incident and announced a compensation of Rs1 million to the mother of the victims.
Meanwhile, angry villagers staged a protest on Tuesday against the shocking incident and demanded the culprits be caught quickly.
Cases of molestation has become rampant in India over the years, and despite the efforts of the government, the incidence has been on the increase.