AGRA: In one of the most horrific cases of sexual assault and murder in recent times, a Dalit woman was gang-raped and murdered by local hoodlums allegedly associated with the family of a village headman in Malpura, Agra. The site of the crime was just 200 metres from the police post. A fact-finding team set up by DIG Agra Lakshmi Singh found parts of the woman’s body, partially burnt. A number of condoms were also recovered from the spot.

The crime occurred in Kakua village on the Gwalior Highway. Police have still to estimate when the crime occurred. Local people said the police team arrived while it was raining heavily on Sunday and found partially burnt parts of the woman’s body. Witnesses said the body was burnt along with strips of leather. Kerosene appeared to have been poured on the body.

The victim is identified as Hema, a woman in her 40s, originally from Jhansi district. She had been living in the village, in an under-construction colony, ‘Om Garden’. Her husband Hemraj and 12-year-old daughter lived with her. The family had been engaged as guards at the site by the owners of the colony, Vikram Singh and Rajendra Singh, four years back. The victim, her husband and daughter had gone to Jhansi, local people said, adding that the woman also had a son who lived with her husband’s parents there.

The woman had returned alone some days ago. Her husband and daughter returned on Saturday to find the door locked from outside.

Villagers said Hemraj had climbed the roof of the house, to find his wife’s mutilated boy on the cot there. The rain had spoiled the body. Villagers told the DIG that Hemraj, in shock and run out to tell the others about the death. As news spread, the village headman and others attempted to prevent the guard from taking the matter to police. The men gathered up the body parts and set it afire, and forced the man and his daughter to return to Jhansi, villagers said. Lakshmi Singh DIG Agra range told TOI that she had visited the site of the crime and signs of the brutality could be seen. “Blood stains were seen far from spot of the crime, indicating that the woman had struggled. Condoms were recovered, so there is reason to suspect she was raped before being killed. Villagers told us the woman was a Dalit. Forensic reports and post-mortem examinations will throw light on how long ago the murder occurred,” the DIG said.

An FIR was lodged by police in the absence of a complainant in this case.

Ten people were named in the FIR, including the owners of the colony, Vikram Singh and Rajendra Singh and village headman Sukhpal, for murder and hiding evidence.