An eight-year-old girl was strangled to death in a village in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday. Her body was found in a sugarcane field late at night in Kheri district, about 130 km from state capital Lucknow, hours after she went missing. In the murder case, the police have now also added rape charges, and those under the stringent POCSO Act (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act) based on the injuries found on her body.
She was allegedly strangled with the clothes she was wearing, police said. No arrests have yet been made.
The girl was out on Sunday morning, according to the villagers, with her grandmother to graze goats in their field.
By afternoon, she said she was going home. When she wasn't back home by evening, the family started looking for her.
"She told me she was tired and wanted to go home. So I told her 'you go home I will graze the goats'. I brought the goats in the evening. We then realised she never reached home. Then, we thought she may have gone to attend a local wedding. But we did not even find her there. Later, her body was found. Her legs were tied and there was a lot of blood all over," the girl's grandmother told reporters.
Her father, a migrant laborer, is not in UP right now. She was the eldest of the three siblings.
"A postmortem was conducted by a panel of eight doctors. The cause of the death has been determined to be 'asphyxiation due to antemortem strangulation'. The postmortem panel has not found any confirmation of rape but because of the nature of injuries on the body of the girl, we are invoking the rape charges and the POCSO Act in the case," Vijay Dhull, Kheri's police chief, said in a late-night statement.