Rajasthan: Cops Face Scrutiny Over Handling of Mute Girl’s Death, Disclosures Making Different Claims

The victim’s relatives are alleging an attempt to obfuscate the case and shield the accused.
Relatives and social activists are staging a sit-in, demanding justice for the victim.
Relatives and social activists are staging a sit-in, demanding justice for the victim.Photo: The Mooknayak

Jaipur: The Rajasthan Police has brought to light a disturbing incident involving a 9-year-old mute girl, leading to the arrest of her parents and uncle. However, other relatives of the girl have refuted the police’s claims, alleging an attempt to obfuscate the case and shield the accused.

They have raised concerns about the police investigation, the victim’s statement and the inconsistent details presented in various instances, suggesting a deliberate effort to manipulate the facts.

According to police findings, following a dispute with her mother, the victim — a resident of Karauli’s Hindaun City — allegedly attempted self-immolation using petrol, resulting in severe burns. The mother purportedly concealed evidence by removing the petrol bottle from the spot and refrained from disclosing any details to the police immediately after the incident.

Subsequently, after careful consideration, the police alleged, the accused leveled charges against two unidentified individuals. The victim’s uncle allegedly attempted to frame one Lalit Sharma by identifying him from a 9-year-old photograph.

However, the deceased uncle rejected the police theory, asking, "She was a child; how could she procure the petrol?" "The police claimed that after an argument with her mother, the girl poured petrol and set herself on fire. This assertion is entirely untrue," he told The Mooknayak.

‘Victim Ingested an Insecticide’

According to the findings of the medical board, the victim ingested an insecticide, Organophosphorus, which led to her demise within approximately 24 hours. Upon the victim exhibiting respiratory distress, doctors sought formal consent for oxygen support on May 19.

However, as per the victim’s uncle Rajesh’s deliberation with her parents, they declined consent in written form. Subsequently, the victim passed away on the intervening night of May 19 and 20.

Police investigations revealed no chemical odor on the clothing, attributing the burning sensation to electrical current.

The incident occurred on May 9, 2024. Sources indicate that the police submitted a comprehensive report on the entire incident to the additional chief secretary of the Department of Home Affairs.

Probe Contradicts Medical Board’s Report

The police detailed in the report that after the incident, Superintendent of Police Giridhar Singh and Station House Officer Ramkishan Yadav visited the spot. During their investigation, the cops refuted claims of any chemical odor on the clothing. Based on their conversations with bystanders, they suggested the possibility of burns from an electric current.

According to the report, due to the girl’s mute and deaf condition, local police engaged the Police Assistance Center for the Deaf, located at Yadgar Bhavan Police Control Room, Ajmeri Gate, Jaipur. Subsequently, a statement was recorded with the help of experts. This statement was also videographed, wherein the girl affirmed being set on fire by Sharma.

She denied the possibility of burns caused by electric current or any other reason. Sources indicate her statement was recorded on May 14, and she passed away on May 19 before her statement under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure could be recorded.

In an additional report submitted to the Home Department, the police stated that the accused was present merely two kilometers away from the spot.

‘Victim Died of Septicaemia’

According to the report, the victim passed away on May 20, not on May 19. Following her death, a postmortem examination was conducted by a panel of doctors.

Their report stated, “We, the members of the medical board, are of the opinion that the cause of death is ‘SEPTICAEMIA’. This was brought about as a result of secondary infection following ante mortem burns, covering 60-65% of the total burnt body surface area, sufficient to cause death in the ordinary course of nature.”

Confirming possibility of sexual assault, the report further stated, “Findings indicate possible penetration of the vaginal orifice. However, for opinion regarding recent sexual intercourse, above mentioned samples are collected, preserved, sealed, labeled and handed over to the accompanying police personnel for FSL examination. The final opinion on the nature of burns will be provided after the concerned FSL report.”

In the aforementioned report, doctors concluded that the cause of death was infection spreading throughout the body after the burns. Meanwhile, the police claimed to have sent samples for an FSL report to determine the affected part of the body. At the same time, neither the police nor the doctors cited poisoning as the cause of death.

However, a Lucknow-based forensic science expert, Dr Amarnath Mishra, told The Mooknayak, "It is clear from the photographs that an attempt has been made to burn the girl's breast. Apart from this, looking at the burnt from her waist to knees, it seems she has been set on fire by someone else. This is the handiwork of more than one person. Probably, the targeted place has been burnt to avoid a POCSO case. And perhaps therefore, some specific organs of the victim have been burnt."

He said the claim that the victim attempted self-immolation raises doubts. "A 10-year-old girl would not realistically consider pouring petrol on herself and setting herself on fire. If she had attempted such an act, she would likely pour petrol on her head or shoulders, resulting in burns to her chest and possibly her hair. However, the photographs clearly indicate that her feet are partially burned, with burn marks visible from below her waist to her knees. If the victim had done this herself, her soles would not have burned while the upper part would, as petrol would flow downwards from her body, wetting the soles and making them more prone to catching fire. Yet, this discrepancy is not apparent in the pictures. The upper parts of the feet are unburned; whereas, the soles show partial burning," he explained.

'FSL Report Establishes Pesticide Poisoning'

The police asserted that there was no smell of chemicals emanating from the girl’s clothes. They also claimed to have interrogated several individuals who reportedly attributed the burns to electrical causes.

In addition, in their disclosure of the case, the investigators mentioned that the FSL report identified traces of petroleum hydrocarbons and hydrochloric acid on the clothes, skin and hair samples collected by them. However, the FSL report did not confirm rape. It established pesticide poisoning as the cause of death.

Responding to the claim, the relatives — who are staging a sit-in — claimed that the victim’s parents were present at home 24 hours before her death. The victim was under police protection and receiving medical treatment.

When asked about the FSL report, which — according to the police — concluded that there no evidence of rape, Dr Mishra emphasized, "If allegations as serious as rape, the medical team, which carried out the autopsy, should have promptly gathered relevant evidence. Since the victim suffered burns, FSL slide should have been prepared during the post-mortem. There is a possibility that all evidence could have been compromised during the victim's treatment. However, a report prepared 10 days after the incident will be more effective, but it might not confirm rape."

Regarding the case of the victim being poisoned, relatives staging a sit-in claimed that the victim's parents were present at home 24 hours before her death. The victim was under police protection and receiving medical treatment.

You can also join our WhatsApp group to get premium and selected news of The Mooknayak on WhatsApp. Click here to join the WhatsApp group.

The Mooknayak English - Voice Of The Voiceless