The house of the man accused of raping a teenage girl in Madhya Pradesh's Ujjain will be demolished tomorrow, as it was allegedly built illegally.
Videos of a 15-year-old girl, semi-naked and bleeding, going door-to-door for help, sparked outrage across the country last week.
The accused, Bharat Soni, an auto-rickshaw driver, was arrested in the case on Thursday. Bharat is currently in jail awaiting trial. His family has been living in the house on government land for years, the Ujjain Municipal Corporation said.
Municipal Commissioner Roshan Singh said that the land belongs to the government and therefore no notice is needed for its demolition. The municipal body will take action tomorrow in collaboration with the Madhya Pradesh police. Bharat was caught after a long investigation that involved reviewing footage from nearly 700 CCTV cameras.
"30-35 people were involved in the investigation. No one slept for three or four days," Ajay Verma, a senior police officer, told NDTV.
On September 26, videos went viral on social media showing a minor girl, haggard, bleeding, and begging for help. A CCTV camera on Badnagar Road, about 15 km from Ujjain, captured the girl, draped in rags, going door-to-door, seeking assistance. The chilling footage, that sent shockwaves across the country, showed people shooing the girl away, as she approached them one after the other.
READ |In Ujjain Rape Case, Those Who Didn't Help Teen May Face Charges: Police
The minor girl, exhausted and traumatised with her body barely covered by a tattered cloth, aimlessly wandered the streets. Word of her agony reached an ashram not far from her location. A priest there, sensing that she had been sexually assaulted, draped her in a towel and rushed her to the nearby hospital. The medical examination confirmed the fears: she had been raped.
The girl's injuries were severe, so she was rushed to Indore for specialised medical care. Police officers volunteered to donate blood when she needed it.
The accused, Bharat, was arrested three days later. The accused attempted to flee while reenacting the crime scene to collect evidence, including torn clothing but was swiftly caught.
"We reached the spot to recover the clothes worn by the girl. Sensing an opportunity, Bharat Soni tried to escape. Police personnel chased and caught him. During this, he fell on a cemented road, injuring his arms and legs," the police said.
'Should Be Hanged'
Bharat's father has called for the death penalty for his son, while the local bar association has urged its members to refuse to represent him in court.
"It is a shameful act. Neither have I gone to hospital to meet him, no will I go to the police station or courts. My son has committed a crime, therefore he should be hanged," his father said.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who is gearing up for assembly elections in the state scheduled in November this year, vowed to prosecute the accused to the fullest extent of the law.
"The victim is the daughter of Madhya Pradesh. We will take care of her in every way. She is my daughter, as well as the state's daughter and we will ensure that the accused gets stringent punishment," he declared.
READ | "She Could've Been My Child": Ujjain Rape Accused's Father Seeks Death Penalty
The horrific incident has provided additional fodder to opposition parties to question the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led state government which is under pressure for its dismal record on violence against women.
According to National Crime Records Bureau data, Madhya Pradesh, with 6,462 cases, reported the most number of rape incidents in the country in 2021. Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have reported the highest number of cases of disappearance of women and girls between 2019 and 2021. Of all the reported rape cases, 50 per cent were crimes against minors, NCRB data states.