The Jharkhand Police has so far made 15 arrests in connection with the gangrape and murder of a 16-year-old girl, who was set on fire in Chatra district’s Raja Kendua village, according to media reports.
Among the 15 arrested are main accused Dhanu Bhuiyan, his family members, village head Tileshwari Devi, and village panchayat samiti member Ranjay Rajak, The Indian Express reported. The victim was seen leaving a wedding with Bhuiyan on Friday, after which a word had spread about her going missing.
A relative of the victim was quoted as saying by ANI that when the matter came up in front of the panchayat, it concluded that the matter be settled by making the accused do a hundred sit-ups and by paying the victim’s family Rs 50,000.
Local media reported that four men were involved in abducting and raping the girl.
Following the panchayat‘s order, the four went to the girl’s residence, assaulted her family members and burnt the victim to death. “We ran away to save our lives, but when returned, we found our daughter burnt and dead in our gutted house,” the victim’s father was quoted as saying by The Hindu.
The four accused of rape and murder have been booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) Act, while Devi and Rajak were booked on charges of passing unlawful orders and tampering with evidence, according to Hindustan Times. The police are currently waiting for the victim’s postmortem report.
A Special Investigation Team (SIT) was formed to probe the case, said The Hindu report. Deputy Commissioner Jitendra Singh visited the victim’s family on Saturday and gave them a cheque of Rs 1 lakh for financial assistance. ANI reported that the district administration announced a financial support of Rs 2.5 lakh to the victim’s family.