The devastated mother of the five–year–old girl who was abducted, raped and murdered in India has spoken of the moment she found her naked body.
Geeta Devi, 30, a mother of three, who lives in a tent on a slum, in Hisar district, Haryana, northern India, screamed tears of dispair as she recalled the moment she found the naked body of her little girl, with a 24cm long wooden stick inserted into her anus and mouth, damaging of her intestines and uterus, and leading to her death.
‘I’m still in shock,’ she said. ‘I can’t even think of that moment when I saw my daughter in that condition. It was not only brutal, but shattering to even imagine what she could have gone through. Her body was violated with wooden sticks even.’
The little girl was sleeping with her eight-year–old sister and three-year–old brother and mother, in a makeshift tent house when she went missing on Friday night.
Father, Ramesh Kumar, 32, was in a different district attending a wedding function.
But when Geeta, who is a member of the Dalit community known as the untouchables in India, woke up at 6am and found her daughter missing she started frantically looking and asking neighbours if they’d seen her little girl.
‘I was screaming and crying,’ she said. ‘I kept knocking on doors for help but everyone said they had no clue who I was talking about. I phoned my husband and told him our girl was missing and he quickly started making arrangements to come home immediately.’
‘ was screaming and crying, I kept knocking on doors for help but everyone said they had no clue who I was talking about
Eventually, two women told Geeta they’d spotted a body of a little girl deserted on a nearby road, approximately 4km from their home, lying in a pool of blood.
Geeta explained: ‘I was still hunting for her when somebody from my village told me that my daughter was lying on a road side in a pool of blood. I rushed there and that’s when I saw her body lying naked. There was blood everywhere and there was a wooden stick inserted in her mouth and anus. I just couldn’t bear it. I fainted within seconds of seeing her.’
Superintendent of Police, Manisha Choudhary, from Uklana Police Station, said: ‘A special investigation team is on the hunt for the criminal. No one has been arrested so far and we cannot comment if there was one or more involved in the crime.’
A First Information Report (FIR) has been submitted, under Sections 302 (murder), 376 (rape), 363 (kidnapping) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 6 of Protection Of Child from Sexual Offences Act.
He added: ‘The result of the postmortem revealed the girl died of neurogenic shock that could be due to the 24cm long wooden stick inserted into her that ruptured her intestines and uterus. She had multiple injuries across her body. We are doing our best to arrest those responsible for this and are hopeful they will be in our custody in the next 48 hours.’
Locals of the area staged a protest on tnearby streets over the weekend, demanding strict action.
The little girl’s father, Ramesh, who works on Friday, Saturday and Sunday as a rag picker earning Rs150 (£1.70) a day, said: ‘Our daughter’s funeral was on Sunday afternoon after the police had taken action. We took the body away for cremation on Sunday at 3pm only after police assured us they will arrest the criminals within 48 hours but unfortunately, no arrest has happened yet.
‘We do not have any personal issues within anyone. Who would do such a heinous crime? My daughter has become a victim of somebody’s lust and desperation. The accused should not be spared. We demand the strictest punishment.’
As Geeta sits in bed surrounded by her other two children, too weak to get up, she remembers the last few hours with her daughter.
‘We had roti and pea and vegetables for dinner at 8pm and we were all asleep by 9pm. She told me she’d wake up to play hide and seek with me. She loved playing with her siblings, especially her younger brother. She was an adorable child who never demanded anything. She was happy in whatever I could give her.’
Her heartbroken mother now battles with the guilt she did not wake during the night.
‘I don’t know why I did not wake up that night at all,’ she added, who doesn’t even own one photo of her daughter to cherish. ‘I often wake up at least once but unfortunately, I did not wake up at all that night. I have no idea who did this to her and why? How could someone do such a thing to such a little girl? She did not even survive to share her ordeal. I will never be able to get that sight out of mind as I have never seen a more horrendous scene. They killed my daughter; I want them to be killed.’
The horrendous incident comes just a week ahead of the fifth anniversary of the 2012 gang rape and murder case in Delhi, that shocked and enraged the country and made international headlines and forced the government to examine the laws concerning crimes against women.
Of the total crimes recorded against children in 2015, 15.8% (14,913 cases) were sexual offences under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012, according to the National Crime Record Bureau’s Crime in India 2015 report.
Bharti Ali, 48, Co-Director of HAQ – Centre for Child Rights, in Delhi, said: ‘Such crimes were there earlier as well but it is only highlighted more now because they have become more aggressive and violent. Too much exposure to porn and its easy availability has contributed to an increase in these crimes in a large way. We have come across cases where fathers have raped children and they have been forced by their fathers to watch porn. It is both shocking and sad. Children have today become easy targets for people with criminal minds because they are extremely vulnerable and not able to do much to protect themselves and children below the age of 15 fall under such category. A lot of emphasis needs to be put on the mental health of people as this is the aggression and violence that we see and deal with in our daily lives that have led to the escalation of such heinous crimes. This little girl has died without any reason. We have reached to such a horrendous type of crime because we have ignored the subtle crimes in the past. If we had been strict in taking action against small incidents of molestation or other cases of rape in our country before, we would not have reached a level where girls, especially children, are considered a commodity and used for personal sexual wants and killed.’