Surat rape may have been committed outside Gujarat: Minister

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Gujarat Police, that scanned through heaps of data to establish the identity of a nine-year-old Surat rape victim, whose body was found on April 6 with around 85 injury marks, including on private parts, are hinting at the possibility of the girl being from outside the state and the crime being committed outside Gujarat.

“The police had scanned details of 8,000 missing girls and prima facie it appears that the girl child may be from outside Gujarat and that is making it a bit difficult for us to reach her parents. Preliminary investigation suggests that she was, perhaps, kidnapped and then dumped here in Surat after the crime was committed,” Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja said on Monday.

The autopsy on the girl had revealed that the girl was raped and tortured for days before being killed. “She was strangled to death and the post-mortem indicated that the girl was tortured and raped for at least eight days,” Jadeja told media persons in Gandhinagar.

Surat Police Commissioner Satish Sharma for his part said that as they have not found any signs of struggle at the spot where her body was recovered, it would indicate that crime was committed elsewhere. The police said that looking at the features of the girl, she appeared to be from outside Gujarat. “We have already sent missives to senior police officials in Odisha and West Bengal to help us verify the identity of the girl. We are checking on missing girls from the two states as many of them come here along with migrant labourers,” Sharma added.

Reward for info

The state has also rushed in two teams from Ahmedabad Crime Branch to assist Surat Police in the investigation. Though Surat Crime Branch has been working to establish the girl’s identity, it is yet to reach a final conclusion. “The police is also checking mobile calls and CCTV footage from nearby area to trace the culprit or culprits. We hope to catch the perpetrators of this heinous crime on the little girl soon,” the minister said.

The police has already registered a case of rape and booked unidentified accused under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (Pocso Act) and announced a reward of Rs 20,000 for anyone providing any lead or information about the girl or her family. A local builder from Surat, for his part, has announced a reward of Rs 5,00,000 for the same cause.

Pressure is mounting on the police from several social and political groups, with protest marches being held in Surat, Vadodara and Ahmedabad, seeking early results. Social media messages are also adding to the voices seeking early delivery of justice.

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