The police on Monday arrested Vishnu Prasad (35), the accused in the rape and killing of an eight-year-old girl from Kamla Nagar locality in Bhopal. The arrest was made in Khandwa, about 275 kms from Bhopal.
The police claim family members gave away Vishnu’s location. The police released a 10-second sketchy video that shows him weakly answering questions about his name and vocation. Police said Vishnu belongs to Khandwa.
There has been a spate of crimes against children over the past few days. A five-year-old girl was raped and killed in Ujjain on Friday and a 16-year-old boy was arrested in Jabalpur on Sunday for raping another four-year-old.
The police have promised to fast track the legal process to ensure speedy justice in the case. Chief Minister Kamal Nath has assured that the charge sheet would be presented within 48 hours and conviction would be ensured in 30 days. The state government has also announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the family.
Police said they had announced a reward of Rs 20,000 for tracing the accused. Twenty teams were formed to locate him.
Public joined the girl’s relatives in organising a traffic jam near the Kamla Nagar police station. The child was missing around 8 p.m. on Saturday night and her body was recovered from a nearby drain in the early hours of Sunday. There were cuts on her face apparently caused by blades.
The incident reflected the insensitive face of the police. When the girl’s parents reached Kamla Nagar police station on Saturday night, Assistant Sub-inspector Dev Singh refused to register the case. A constable demanded money from the harried couple.
Later when the police did visit the victim’s house, they told the parents the girl must have eloped with someone. The team returned without searching the location.
At around 11.30 p.m., municipal councillors and neighbours informed senior officers, forcing the police into action. At around 5.15 a.m., the family found the body of the girl in a gutter near her house. Post-mortem report said the child was strangulated after rape. Seven policemen, including the ASI, have been suspended for negligence.
Leader of the Opposition Gopal Bhargava demanded the resignation of the state Home Minister and the Chief Minister. He said the two incidents of child rape and murder in two days reflect a major failure on the part of the six-month-old Congress government.
Bhargava’s comment could be dismissed as rhetoric. But the state government can’t wish away some questions.
Through the whole sequence of events, one has not heard from an important political functionary, the Minister for Women and Child Development, Imarti Devi. The Minister hasn’t had any meeting either with the officials of her own Department or with other organisations. The state Human Rights Commission has also kept quiet.
The Minister’s only statement during the past week was to demand the elevation of her mentor Jyotiraditya Scindia as the state Congress President. Imarti Devi was not able to read the oath during the swearing-in ceremony. Her performance as a Minister is an embarrassment for the government.
The BJP government led by Shivraj Singh Chouhan had in December 2017 made a legal provision for execution of the guilty in cases of rape of children under 12 years. As many as 26 people were sentenced to death after the law was passed. But all the cases are now pending with the High Court, the Supreme Court and the President.