Six-year-old missing girl found dead; rape and subsequent murder suspectedThree persons injured as police opened fire at demonstrators who took to the streets on Tuesday demanding action against the guilty.
Three persons sustained critical injuries when security personnel opened fire at demonstrators protesting the abduction and murder of a six-year-old girl in Bardibas, Mahottari, on Tuesday. The preliminary investigation showed that the minor was raped and subsequently murdered, police said.
Buddi Raj Neupane of Bardibas Municipality-1 and Shyam Karki of Bardibas-5 sustained bullet injuries in the skirmish. The critically injured duo, according to ward chairman of Bardibas-1 Chudamani Pokharel, were airlifted to Kathmandu for treatment. Another man, whose identity is yet to be ascertained, was also injured after police thrashed him with a baton. He is receiving treatment at the local health facility.
The six-year-old girl—daughter of Sahid Ansari, a resident of Bardibas Municipality Ward No 14—had gone missing since Sunday evening. Her body wrapped in a sack was recovered near her residence on Monday night. The victim’s family claim the minor was kidnapped, raped and murdered.
According to Rajan Chapagain, the deputy superintendent of police at the Area Police Office in Bardibas, the body was sent to the provincial hospital in Janakpur for postmortem.
Police arrested 25-year-old Arun Kumar Sah, the victim’s neighbour, for his alleged involvement in the minor’s death. Chapagain said the suspect confessed to his crime of murdering the girl but has not confessed to having raped her. Detailed investigation into the case is underway, he added.
According to the family, the victim had gone to Sah’s general store in the neighbourhood with her younger sister to buy chocolates. Both the sisters returned home. But the victim went back to the shop since Sah had allegedly lured her with the promise of more chocolates.
Preliminary police investigation showed that Sah raped the minor and murdered her on Sunday evening. According to the investigation officers, he kept the body in a sack and dumped it near her residence on Monday evening before fleeing to his ancestral home in Gaushala Municipality Ward No 5, Mahottari.
Sah’s father Raj Kishwor reached the Area Police Office in Gaushala on Monday night, urging the police to arrest his son after the latter allegedly confessed to him about murdering the minor.
“We detained the suspect and handed him over to the Area Police Office in Bardibas for investigation,” said Prakash Regmi, inspector at the Area Police Office in Gaushala.
The deceased’s relatives and the locals took to the streets early Tuesday morning, demanding strong action against the guilty. The protesters placed the body on the road and disrupted vehicular movement along the Bardibas section of the East-West and BP highways for about five hours. They burnt tyres and chanted slogans demanding justice for the victim.
The demonstrators also set Sah’s house on fire and prevented a fire engine from dousing the blaze. The three-storey house was destroyed in the inferno.
A clash soon erupted as the security personnel used force to disperse the protesters and resume vehicular movement. Police also lobbed 22 tear gas canisters to take the situation under control. Chapagain said the security personnel were compelled to fire shots, as they could not contain the situation by lobbying tear gas and resorting to baton charge.
The security personnel of Nepal Police and Armed Police Force have been mobilised in the area to avert any untoward incident. The situation is under control now, said police.
Police claimed that Sah was accused of other criminal charges as well. The Mahottari District Court had released him on bail a month ago. He had been arrested on charges of killing Dilip Thakur of Gaushala-4 some seven months ago. The case is pending in court.
The people of Bardibas also claimed that Sah had attempted to rape another local girl who had gone to his store to buy juice during the lockdown. The villagers had come to her rescue as the girl fled from the store crying. The case was settled between the families of the victim and Sah, said a local.