India: Girl burnt alive at home in honour killing

India: Girl burnt alive at home in honour killing

GHAZIABAD: A 16-year-old girl was burnt alive in her house in Hapur on Saturday during what her father claimed was a robbery by four men. But a dodgy account of events the father gave has turned suspicion on him, with the police not ruling out the possibility of an honour killing.

In the complaint he filed at Kotwali police station, Mahesh (45) claimed his daughter was killed by the four robbers for putting up a resistance. According to Mahesh, they broke into the second floor house in Ganeshpura, where the Dalit family lived, around 1am. The robbers allegedly took a pair of silver anklets from Mahesh’s wife and were leaving when 16-year-old Neetu raised an alarm. The men, Mahesh claimed, then doused her with kerosene and set fire to her.

But this theory, police officers said, fell apart when investigators visited the crime scene and started making inquiries. None of the neighbours, for instance, reported hearing any commotion from the building at the time Mahesh said Neetu was killed. Besides, there were seven family members in the house, including Neetu, at the time of the alleged crime but no one else was injured.

Mahesh sells fruits to earn a living. Other than Neetu, he has three sons and a daughter.

“The victim was wearing gold earrings and so was her mother. Yet, both ornaments were secure. This casts a doubt on the claims made by the family,” said Kotwali SHO Rajender Singh Yadav. Each family member also gave a different version of the cash allegedly stolen from the house.

Another loophole the police found in Mahesh’s theory was his claim that the robbers had gained access to the house by jumping from the roof of an adjacent building. “We inspected the building where Mahesh lives. It’s not possible to jump into the house from the adjacent buildings because of the distance between them,” said Yadav.

Hapur police superintendent R P Pandey said, “It seems the girl’s father filed a false complaint to mislead us. The girl, a school dropout, was working as a domestic help in several households. Suspecting her of having an illicit relationship, Mahesh had asked her not to work at some of the houses. It seems when she refused to obey him, her father and other members of the family killed her. A number of facts pointing towards honour killing have surfaced during our investigations.”

The police are yet to receive the girl’s autopsy report. As of now, police have lodged an FIR against four unknown persons under sections 302 (murder), 302 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 394 (robbery) of the IPC. The SP said they would take action against the Mahesh based on findings of their probe. “Afresh FIR will be filed depending on the probe’s outcome,” said Pandey.

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