Bhandara rape-murder case: A week on, no arrests made yet

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 21, 2013 14:34 hrs

Bhandara: The mother of the three minor girls who were raped and killed in Maharashtra's Bhandara district demanded arrest of the perpetrators of the crime and their execution.

The three sisters, who were minors, went missing from their school on Feb 14, only their bodies to be found on Feb 16 in a well.

"They should be hunted down and brought before the people. They should then be hanged in public," she said speaking to media.

The woman had alleged earlier that police did not do enough to trace the girls since the missing complaint was lodged.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan called the incident 'painful'.

"The incident is extremely deplorable and painful. I appeal to the people to maintain calm and cooperate with the law-enforcers," Chavan said in a statement.

Autopsies on the bodies of the three girls showed they were raped and murdered.

"Tanuja Borkar (11) and her sisters Prachi (9) and Priya (6) had gone missing from their village Murmadi in the Lakhni tehsil of Bhandara district on February 14. On February 16, their schoolbags and chappals were found near the well, and their bodies in it," The Indian Express reported.

District Superintendent of Police (SP) Aarti Singh told the newspaper: "The post-mortem report has confirmed they were raped and then murdered."

"The girls are survived by their mother and grandparents. The father died a few years ago. Nobody from the girls' family is talking of any old enmity. But we suspect this could be the work of acquaintances," she said.

"The eldest one had gone to the younger sister's school to call her, saying their mother had called them to eat some hurda (roasted wheat). They were last seen at 1.30 pm (on Feb 14)," Singh said.

Police make little progress, one cop suspended for inaction

The police on Thursday said that they have launched a manhunt for men suspected of raping and killing the three sisters.

As the victims' mother accused police of a shoddy investigation, enraged villagers forced shops to close, burned tires and blocked a national highway passing through the area for several hours on Wednesday, demanding justice.

"The police did not take the case seriously and did nothing for two days," the CNN-IBN television news channel quoted the mother as saying.

One police officer has been suspended for not acting promptly, Indian Heavy Industries Minister Praful Patel, who represents Bhandara district in Parliament, told reporters in New Delhi.

"It is unacceptable. All of us have to hang our heads in shame," Patel said.

Many questioned in Bhandara rape case, say police

A top Maharashtra police official on Thursday said many people have been questioned in the case in the last two days.

Admitting that the police have not found any substantial lead in the case, Additional Director General of Police Ahmed Javed, however, said that no detail is being overlooked. He reiterated that action has been taken against concerned officials who delayed the case.

"The probe is underway and as of now, all avenues are open. Each and everyone who can be a suspect is under our scanner," Javed told reporters here.

Javed also admitted to lapses in the initial investigation and said that the leads could not provide any headway in the case. However, police have got new leads in the last two days, he added.

"Many people have been questioned in the case so far," he said, refusing to give a specific number.

Two days after the death of the minors, some villagers discovered their brutalised bodies in a well near Murmadi village, following which the police registered a case of "accidental death".

It was only after the villagers took to the streets, blocked traffic and protested outside the police station that police finally lodged a case of murder, kidnapping, rape and other serious charges.

Centre seeks report on Bhandara rape and murder of 3 minors

 In the wake of outrage over the alleged rape and murder of three minor girls in Maharashtra, the Centre on Thursday sought from the state government all details of the gruesome incident.

"We have asked the Maharashtra government to send a report about the unfortunate incident," Minister of State for Home R P N Singh told reporters here.

The Home Ministry has asked the Maharashtra DGP to send the report on the incident in Bhandara district where bodies of the girls, all below 11 years and missing since February 14, were found in a well in their native village on February 16.

"Policing is a state subject. But our government is committed to safety of women," Singh said.

Kiran Bedi, Shabana Azmi voice their concern

"This is a very very vital and important investigation. The post-mortem report will tell you whether it was rape. Investigation of the area will tell us whether it was a property dispute, whether it was a family dispute, whether it was revenge," Kiran Bedi said.

"Also it has to be more than one because you just can't kill three children like that. They have not been shot immediately. What is the method of death? Is it rape? Is it suffocation? Is it gunshot? So, I think the post mortem report is very vital, similarly investigations because it is a totally blind case," she added.

Meanwhile, actress Shabana Azmi commenting on the incident said it is the most outrageous thing that has happened.

"And there has been I am very happy to say from the civil society such a sense of outrage because of the horrific incidents that are happening that we really need to develop zero tolerance for violence against women. And when it comes to little children I really wonder what kind of a society we are becoming," Shabana Azmi told media on the sidelines of an event here.

"Very effective measures have to be taken and until and unless the guilty get punished, we will never be able to create true deterrence. It is the certainty of punishment, not the severity of punishment that acts as a deterrent," she added.

Bodies of the three minor girls were found dumped in a well in Maharashtra's Bhandara District five days back. Three sisters - all minors - brutally raped and then murdered.

Despite the incident taking place a week ago, no arrests have been made so far in connection with this case.

NCP also wants death for accused

NCP on Thursday demanded death sentence for the rapists of three minor sisters in Maharashtra as it pushed for expeditious passage of the bill on crime against women.

"It is unacceptable. All of us have to hang our heads in there anything short of capital punishment which should be given to them," Heavy Industries Minister and NCP leader Praful Patel told reporters outside Parliament House.

Patel was referring to the rape-cum-murder of three minor sisters in Bhandara district of Maharashtra a couple of days ago.

Responding to questions on differences among political parties on certain provisions of the ordinance which seeks to enhance punishment for crime against women, Patel said strong laws were required to deal with the problem.

"It has to be with consensus...after what has happened in Delhi, the nation has awakened to this new reality," he said.

When asked about reservations being expressed by political parties on provisions of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance promulgated earlier this month, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said views of various quarters would be incorporated when a fresh bill replaces the ordinance.

"I can't understand why people try to confuse issues. Ordinance is an ordinance. It has to be replaced by a bill in (the bill) will perhaps have additionalities that public minded persons, activists, political parties believe need to be included," he said, adding modifications to the existing provisions can also be made.

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