Indian Police filed charges against a Hindu priest and three other men after allegedly gang-raping and murdering a low-caste nine-year-old girl in New Delhi, the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement.
The rape and murder of the young victim sparked protests across the Indian capital for days as it once again highlighted the rampant sexual crimes against women and the caste-based discriminatory treatment in India.
Authorities said that on August 1, the young victim told her mother that she was going to a crematorium near their house in a southwestern district of New Delhi to ask for water.
However, the crematorium’s priest called the girl’s mother and said that her daughter had been electrocuted.
The suspects then told the victim’s mother that if she reported the incident to the authorities, doctors that would conduct an autopsy might take the organs out of her daughter’s body and sell them.
Despite the family’s objections, the suspects then cremated the victim’s body before some locals intervened and retrieved the burnt remains of the girl from the pyre.
The young victim hailed from the Indian Dalit community, which is deemed as the lowest and most oppressed social class in Hinduism’s caste-based hierarchy.
In a statement, The Ministry of Home Affairs said late Saturday that a 400-page charge sheet that the Delhi police filed in the court cited “scientific, technical and other evidence” and witness testimony after the suspects were charged.
According to the ministry, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had instructed authorities “to speedily complete investigation and file charge-sheet within 30 day[s], so that the victim family gets speedy justice.”
It also said that the Delhi police’s filing of the charge sheet shows the Indian government’s “zero tolerance” of crimes against women and girls.
© Fourth Estate® — All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.