'19-year-old Dalit girl was abetted to commit suicide'

19-year-old Dalit girl who was found hanging on tree in Gujarat was abetted to commit suicide: SIT

Representative image. (iStock Photo)

In the mysterious death of a 19-year-old Dalit girl, who was found hanging on a tree in January in Aravalli district, north Gujarat, the special investigation team (SIT), that is probing the case, has found that the girl was abetted to commit suicide. The SIT had found no evidence that she was gang-raped and then murdered.

The victim's parents had alleged that their daughter was kidnapped, gang-raped and then murdered by four accused. Following protests from Scheduled Caste (SC) community in the district, the local police had lodged the FIR against four accused from upper-caste Bharwad community and state government had set up an SIT to probe the case.

"We have come to the conclusion based on medical, forensic and other evidence that the victim was neither kidnapped, raped or murdered. It is a case of suicide and she was compelled by one of the accused Bimal Bharwad to end her life," said a member of SIT. 

He said that Bharwad has been booked under Section 306 (abatement of suicide), 201 (destruction of evidence), 504 (intentional insult) of Indian Penal Code and various sections of Atrocity Act. SIT sources said that the victim and accused Bimal Bharwad knew each other. They had come in contact in December 2019 and became close in less than a month. Sources said that the victim wanted to live with Bharwad, who is married, but he was against it. 

"By the end of December, their fight became intense and the accused brought victim's sister to resolve the issue. In fact, the accused tried to engage the victim with a new person and that angered the victim more. We have call recordings, obtained from several cell phones, in this regard that prove the accused put the victim in a situation that compelled her to commit suicide," said a source in the SIT.

However, according to police the whereabouts of the victim of the last two days of her life still remains a mystery. The girl had been found hanging on a tree near her village in Modasa taluka on January 5, four days after she went missing.

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