The allegations came to the fore following the testimony of a public witness who has recorded his statement before a Magistrate on August 27, which is now part of the police’s chargesheet.
A priest of a crematorium and a factory worker have admitted to raping a 9-year-old girl and forcibly cremating her for being a Dalit, the Delhi Police’s chargesheet stated quoting public witnesses who were told about the incident by the accused.
The allegations came to the fore following the testimony of a public witness who has recorded his statement before a Magistrate on August 27, which is now part of the police’s chargesheet. The police have relied upon two public accounts while making their case against the four accused — Radhey Shyam (55), a priest at the cremation ground, and three other employees — Kuldeep Singh (63), Laxmi Narayan (48) and Salim Ahmed (49).
The two witnesses had first spotted Shyam and Kuldeep carrying the body of the girl from one hall to another but “did not suspect that anything was wrong” that time.
However, the first witness said that he got to know about the incident via a phone call later that evening from a local resident who informed him that a girl from his community was raped and her body was cremated. The witness told the court that he reached the crematorium where a crowd had gathered and the girl’s body was being burnt on a pyre.
The four accused persons were asking for his help and said that they had raped and murdered the girl, the statement read. When this witness asked them as to why they did so, Shyam and Kuldeep answered that she was “a Dalit by caste, that’s why”.
The witness told the court that he, along with others, had tried to douse the fire of the burning pyre with water but the police started to lathicharge them.
The witnesses have named the local ACP, SHO and the IO of the case as the officers who were present at the spot.
The second public witness said that he knew the victim for around 5 years and had also got a phone call late in the evening informing him about the incident. On reaching the crematorium, he spotted Salim and asked him as to why they were cremating the girl against the parents’ wishes. The accused took him away from the crowd and called his fellow accused and said that they had raped the girl and cremated her by mistake and sought help from him, according to the statement given before the court.
The accused have maintained that the girl had died of electrocution while fetching water from a cooler but the child’s family has alleged that the suspects hurriedly cremated the body after raping her.
The police chargesheet, on the basis of Shyam’s disclosure statement, stated that the girl was sexually assaulted in the past as well and that she died due to suffocation while Shyam and Kuldeep took turns to rape her. The accused persons then cremated the girl and got rid of crucial evidence like the bedsheet that was used during the crime, a mobile phone used by Shyam to watch pornographic content and the belongings of the girl.
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