Dalit girl murder: Police implicated cousin as the prime suspect

AGRA: A week after the Class 10 Dalit student set ablaze near her village, the UP police on Tuesday said to have cracked the case and arrested the two unidentified motorcycle-borne assistants for the murder.

15-year-old Sanjali on Tuesday was returning from Asharfi Devi Chidda Singh Intercollege in Naumeel village, about nine kilometres from her house when the duo stopped the student and emptied a bottle of petrol on her and set her ablaze.

She was rushed to S.N. Medical College and later taken to Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi where she succumbed to her injuries after struggling for life for 36 hours.

Sanjali’s own cousin brother Yogesh has been implicated as the prime suspect.

According to police, Yogesh was the “mastermind” behind the killing as the girl refused his advances. The two accused Vijay, and Aakash, both carpenters; also close relatives of Yogesh allegedly helped him in committing the murder that was planned in advance for Rs 15,000.

“Her cousin liked her, but she had been rejecting his advances. He wanted to teach her a lesson and so he colluded with his relatives to kill her. It was a meticulously planned murder. The two men arrested have admitted to it,” said Agra SSP Amit Pathak to The Indian Express.

The police statement says “letters written by her cousin, WhatsApp chats, and a picture of the victim at the site of the crime on his phone from a few days ago” helped crack the case.

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However, the family does not buy the police’s theory and also dismissed any caste angle to the crime.

“They were brother and sister. They are being linked to bury the case,” says the sister. “I am not sure why she was killed. Maybe someone was jealous of her… we are educating all our children, many people did not like that,” mother of Sanjali said.

On 20 December, the 24-year-old cousin, Yogesh, a B.ed graduate committed suicide by consuming poison hours after the death of his paternal cousin.

He even met his cousin while she was in critical care.

“You can ask the entire village. He was a kind and good-natured. He had completed his B.ed and was doing a part-time job. The police held him for two days. When he came home on December 20, he told me the police hit him with lathis on his stomach. They have accused him of such a terrible crime, he committed suicide out of shame,” said mourning Rajan Devi, the mother of the boy.

The girl was the second of five children and Yogesh was the second of three brothers.