The third case of rape and murder in just three weeks, reported from the Lakhimpur Kheri district, the victim was 3 years old
Uttar Pradesh is now regularly in the news as the state’s children, especially those from economically weaker families are falling victims to rapists and murders. The third case, in just three weeks, has been reported from Mathiya village in Singahi block of Lakhimpur Kheri district. The brutalised body of a toddler was found in sugarcane fields on Thursday.
The 3-year-old was raped and murdered, and her body found a day after she had been reported missing. The truly indicting aspect of this is that this was the third such incident reported from this district in UP. She isthe latest, and the youngest victim.
In any other state, and during any other time, child rights workers, civil society activists, and perhaps even the Minister for women and child development, would have pushed oliticians across parties and taken to the streets demanding justice. They would have named the victims ‘UP’s Nirbhaya’ or some such protest title and would have even asked whether the ‘Beti Bachao’ slogans of the Union Government meant anything outside of being a propaganda tool.
However, these are not normal times, and most politicians and activists are citing Covid-19 protocols as reasons for not protesting. Off the record, some have even admitted to the sense of fear amongst activists, who are increasingly being targeted if they dare to question, or speak against the government or the police.
Criminals are however not scared of the government, however, and this brutal rape and murder of a child, a toddler will unfortunatley not be the last, neither in the state where the government had claimed to come down hard on criminals, nor in the country for that matter. The UP government has received much acclaim from the centre as the state with the ‘best chief minister in Adityanath!
It may be recalled that in the same district of Lakhimpur Kheri, a 13-yr-old girl was raped, murdered on August 14, a 17-yr-old girl raped, murdered on August 26. Now a 3-yr-old girl’s rape and murder has been reported on September 3. Disturbing visuals of the child’s body lying in the middle of a field thick and lush with tall sugarcane crop, like that of a broken little bird, were shared on social media.
We shall not do that here, but it is important to repeat that the crime rate in Uttar Pradesh is on the rise. These are the reported cases of sexual assault, mostly because the victims have been murdered, and bodies found. There may still be scores of cases of sexual abuse, especially of minors across gender, which are going unreported.
Politician and activist Subhashini Ali pointed out how despite all this Adityanath was still being hailed as the ‘Best Chief Minister’.
The local police had initially suspected this to be a case of murder, however, a panel of three doctors conducted an autopsy and confirmed rape, reported News18. It added that autopsy report of the child has confirmed rape. Senior police officials inspected the crime spot and later confirmed that the three-year-old girl found dead in a sugarcane field in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri on Thursday was raped and strangled to death, police said on Friday. The girl had gone missing on Wednesday and her dead body was found with injury marks on Thursday. The Police, however, were quick to add that the victim’s family had alleged that the child was killed as a result of ‘personal vendetta’. The investigations are still underway.
This is the third incident of rape and murder in Lakhimpur Kheri district in the last 20 days, and the media including News18 reported that the family has alleged that their daughter was kidnapped and murdered due to an old enmity. The girl’s father, in his complaint, has named one Lekharam, from the same village, was what the police said according to the news report. A panel of three doctors conducted an autopsy on Thursday and confirmed strangulation and rape. “The postmortem report has confirmed rape. I am with family members right now. Seven of our teams are working on the case. I am myself going for combing in sugarcane fields and strict action will be taken against the accused,” Superintendent of Police, Satyendra Kumar Singh, had said.
In the murder and rape of the 13-year-old reported on August 14 from the Isanagar police station area, police say they arrested two men and had said that strict action will be taken against the accused under the National Security Act (NSA).
Recently, as the rise in crimes, including rapes and murders, were reported from Uttar Pradesh, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi, who is in charge of parts of Uttar Pradesh for her party, had expressed concern over the situation. She shared a graphic in which she called a ‘crime metre’ to illustrate the massive number of crimes reported in the state over just two days. She listed crimes reported on Sunday, August 23, and Monday, August 24 in a tweet early on August 25. Most crimes listed were heinous, including murder, rape, kidnapping etc. The tweet went viral, and scores of police stations rushed to give their case updates.
Priyanka Gandhi had also written to Uttar Pradesh governor Anandibehn Patel expressing concern over the law and order situation, highlighting the lack of safety for women in the state. Priyanka Gandhi wrote: “Your Excellency the Governor, Uttar Pradesh. The situation of women safety in UP has become very bad. A girl from Lakhimpur was going to fill the online form. She was raped and brutally murdered. This is happening daily in UP now. Hope you understand its seriousness and take it into consideration.”
However, it is not yet known if any action has been taken on those complaints, or if the Adityanath government has reached out to the people with any assurances on the deteriorating issue of law and safety in the state.