Rajasthan/Udaipur— As she was sexually assaulted inside the house , where she had been many times before, by the youth next-door whom she fondly called 'Bhaiyya,' nine-year-old Pinky (pseudo name) could offer little resistance. It is said that she was strangled so hard and continuously that she died much before her perpetrator had enough of her.
On April 1, three days after she was reported missing while going to her paternal uncle's field, the little girl's body was found in 10 pieces, filled in two plastic bags and dumped in a dilapidated, cordoned structure near a temple in Lopda village of Mavli, in Udaipur.
Police arrested on April 2nd, Kamlesh Rajput (21), the lustful neighbour for her rape and brutal murder. Later Kamlesh's parents RamSingh and Kishan Kunwar, too were arrested for aiding their son to dispose the body. The news that the trio, who had been sympathizing with the family during their quest to find their beloved daughter , were themselves instrumental in dumping her body pieces by advising their son of the location, has shocked the community to its core. Their deception and betrayal of the family's trust has added a new dimension of horror to an already unthinkable tragedy.
As hundreds of men from the tribal Bhil community and the Sarv Samaj gathered outside Udaipur Collectorate on Wednesday, , staging protest and raising slogans for justice while demanding ' Faansi' , the death penalty for Kamlesh, the victim's mother cried inconsolably inside her house in the village. Pinky, the youngest of five siblings and the only daughter after four sons, was a beloved child of the family. Her tragic demise has left a deep void in the hearts of her grieving parents, who are struggling to come to terms with the senseless brutality inflicted upon their innocent daughter.
The accused, Kamlesh Rajput, a school dropout and unemployed youth, had fallen victim to the addiction of mobile devices and pornography. The pernicious influence of adult films had stoked the flames of his sexual appetite, which he sought to satiate through the abuse of the hapless child who had innocently passed by his dwelling on the fateful day of March 29.
"Pinky had returned from school and after having her meal, immediately left home saying that she was going to meet her father in the fields. However, she never returned " her mother weeps uncontrollably at the memory of her daughter's last moments.
The family had filed a complaint at the Mavli police station a few hours after they found their daughter missing, but unfortunately, the police did not take the complaint seriously. It was only after three days when the local legislator Dharm Narayan Joshi intervened and spoke to the Superintendent of Police Vikas Sharma, urging him to expedite efforts in finding the girl, that the police finally swung into action. The delayed response of the police has raised serious questions about the accountability and efficiency of the law enforcement system, which failed to act promptly in the face of such a grave crime.
The details of Kamlesh's actions after the brutal rape and murder of Pinky are deeply disturbing. Instead of feeling remorseful and fearful for the consequences of his actions, Kamlesh attended a religious function immediately after he committed the crime and even participated in the festivities. Witnesses report that he danced to the bhajans sung by the performers at the temple and stayed until the end of the program, which lasted until 1 am. Kamlesh was also seen in another religious event on March 31 where he reportedly even beat drums and other musical instruments.
Kamlesh and his parents had acted innocent all the while the police were investigating and searching for Pinky throughout the village. When the body pieces were found in the cordoned structure near their home, the trio remained tight-lipped. It was only after a police dog sniffed the polythene bags and led the cops to Kamlesh's house that the real culprit was revealed.
During the interrogation, Kamlesh confessed to his crime. He told the police that he was alone at home when he called Pinky inside. He raped her while choking her neck to prevent her from screaming. He hid the body inside the bathroom, and later when his mother smelled it, he told his parents about the incident. Scared and fearing the police, the couple advised their son to dump the body. His mother aided him in dismembering the body parts and showed him the location to discard them. Kamlesh packed the pieces in two plastic bags and dumped them inside the structure so that no one would ever know about it.
These and other ghastly details, police claim, were revealed by the accused and his parents who are now in the judicial custody for the crime that has shaken not only Udaipur but the entire country and caused an uproar over the deteriorating law and order condition in the region.
Police are likely to charge the main accused with rape under the provisions of POCSO Act, making him liable for the death sentence if convicted of murder, while his parents would be charged with conspiracy and destruction of evidence, according to police sources. The Superintendent of Police in Udaipur, Vikas Sharma, stated that the investigation would be conducted swiftly and all technical-scientific evidence would be collected as soon as possible so that the chargesheet could be filed within 8 days.
Given that the victim belongs to the ST community, the investigating charge has been assigned to Deputy SP Kailash Kunwar.
The accused's relatives are embarrassed to step out in public. His uncle, Madho Singh, expressed disbelief that one of his own blood could commit such a heinous crime, especially considering that the entire village and police were searching for the culprits. "Crime is a crime whoever commits it, and I have no words to express the shame we feel after learning of Kamlesh's actions," he said.
Another relative, Gopal Singh, said that they stand with the Sarva Samaj and express solidarity with the aggrieved family. He added that it is the first time such a heinous crime has taken place in their peaceful village.
Manish Vaishnav, the owner of the cordoned building where Pinky's body was dumped, expresses despair and anguish at the incident. Vaishnav says that for generations, his family had been involved in the service of Lord Vishnu. "He dumped the body in my building, and by doing so, he has put us also responsible for the wrong act in some way," Vaishnav said.
The Bar Association of Udaipur has expressed solidarity with the grieving family over the heinous act. Its representatives even participated in the protests held by the Sarv Samaj on Wednesday. Rakesh Mogra, the president of the Association, said that its members had been urged to refrain from representing the accused. The legal cell representatives of the Bhartiya Janta Party also demanded that the police investigate the matter under the case officer scheme and that the trial be held in a fast-track court.
Sangita Beniwal, the Chairperson of Rajasthan State Commission for Protection of Child Rights have constituted a committee to inquire on the heinous crime. The members Rajeev Meghwal and Meena Sharma visited the victim's family in Lopda village and consoled them . The team has also directed the police to expedite the investigation.
Child rights activist and ex-member of RSCPCR Dr. Shailendra Pandya insists on the case to be investigated under the special officer's scheme and fast track trial to ensure deliverance of justice timely. He also demanded an immediate ban on adult content accessible easily on the internet which is cited to be one of the reasons for increasing sexual and cyber crimes among youths.
Former Speaker of Rajasthan Legislative Assembly, Shantilal Chaplot, who had represented Mavli thrice, said that the peace of the area has been badly disturbed due to this shocking incident. Laying a scathing attack on the Congress government, Chaplot said that law and order has gone for a toss as crimes against women and children have drastically increased in the state. The police department failed miserably to nab the accused on time, who could have been arrested within a few hours of the incident had the police been watchful.
Roshnalal Meghwal, the district president of the Bhim Army Ekta Mission, demanded an ex gratia of 50 lakh rupees for the deceased's family, a government job for one of their kin, and police protection to ensure their safety. Dalit and social activists have also been critical of the state government's silence on the matter, with none of the ministers having gone to offer consoling words to the aggrieved family.
Bhim Sena state president Ravi Kumar Meghwal condemned the dual character of the government. He said that when a Hindu tailor, Kanhaiya, was murdered, people came out on the streets to stage protests. The Chief Minister had gone to meet the family. However, when any person from marginalized communities like Muslim, Dalit, or Scheduled Tribe meets with tragic events, the government takes a back step and turns into a mute spectator.
Meanwhile, back at Lopda Village, children, especially those studying at Pinky's school, are in great shock and have been reluctant to go to school since the incident coming to light. Udaipur District Collector Tarachand Meena visited the school on Wednesday and interacted with the students. He urged the kids to stay away from mobile addiction and concentrate on studies instead.
Speaking to the girl students, the Collector advised them to be watchful and not believe anyone's words if they sound suspicious and invite them inside their homes. He also said that girls should be vigilant and attack any perpetrator with whatever tool they have, for example, a pin or a stone, which would be helpful in case of an emergency. The villagers also demanded that the school be named after the victim as a tribute to her.
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