A teenage Hindu girl was raped and killed by 23-year-old Sabir Ali, aka Baba Khan in Chhattisgarh’s Surajpur district. The accused tried to pass it off as a case of suicide, police said on Sunday.
The incident took place on March 24 and during a probe into it, the police on Saturday arrested the accused, who strangled the victim to death and then hanged the body from a ceiling fan at her house in Jarhi, Bhatgaon police station limits, Surajpur Additional Superintendent of Police Harish Rathore said.
The victim, a Class 12 student who is believed to be 17 years old, appeared for her practical exam on Thursday and then returned home in Surajpur, located around 300 km from the state capital Raipur. Her mother was in Bilaspur to take care of her ailing father, who was admitted in a hospital there, while her younger brother had gone out of home to play, the official said.
“On finding the victim alone in the house, the accused went there. He allegedly raped her and then strangled her to death with her scarf. The man then hanged the body from a ceiling fan and wrote a note on her hand with a pen to make it appear as a case of suicide,” the official said.
Later, the victim’s brother and neighbours found her hanging and informed the police, he said. Based on the investigation, the accused was arrested and booked under Indian Penal Code Sections 302 (murder), 376 (rape) and other relevant provisions, the official said.
The exact age of the deceased is yet to be ascertained and if she is found to be a minor, provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act will be included in the case,” he added.
On Saturday, a large number of people gathered in Jarhi area of Surajpur to pay tributes to the victim and demanded death sentence for the accused. Protest marches were also taken out by students in Pandit Ravishankar University, Bhaiyathan. A hashtag demanding justice for her is trending on social media. Some local activists have stated that the victim belonged to an SC/ST (aka ‘Dalit’) community.
Many locals suspect that there was more than one perpetrator, and it is said that the victim was brutally assaulted before being raped. An image of the main accused Sabir Ali is also going viral, although HinduPost has not been able to independently verify the same.
There is lot of anger towards the Congress government in Chattisgarh, as most ministers and leaders have stayed silent on this brutal crime. The teenage girl was a bright science student who was keen on becoming a civil servant, locals say.
But tough questions are also being asked of senior BJP leadership, especially of the MP from the area, on their silence over this ghastly crime which cut short the life of a bright young girl. This reluctance of senior BJP leadership to speak openly for issues close to the heart of their electorate is now being observed as a growing trend – is there a diktat from the top to avoid such ‘controversial issues’?
The selective approach of the mainstream media, which chooses to focus incessantly on certain cases like the Hathras case as it involved a Hindu ‘caste angle’, but remains quiet on similar or worse crimes when the perpetrator(s) is from the ‘minority’ community, was also criticized by many.