On Aug. 1, A 9-year old girl that belongs to the Dalit community, India’s lowest caste, was murdered after being gang-raped. Her body was forcibly cremated by the same men who committed the gruesome crime. The crime occurred in a Delhi Cantonment in southwest Delhi.
The girl, who remains unnamed, lives in a rented shanty across the crematorium. On Sunday afternoon, around 5:30 PM, her mother asked her to fetch drinking water from the crematorium’s compound. The girl did not return to their house just a few meters away from the crematorium. What was supposed to be a short trip took more than an hour.
Her mother began getting worried; she rushed to the crematorium to look for her daughter. “Your daughter is dead,” the crematorium’s priest told the mother. She asked the priest how her daughter died and immediately declared that she wanted to bring her daughter’s body to the police. The priest told her, “Don’t do that. I will give you money but let’s settle the matter here.” The priest added, “You will not be able to fight the case.”
The crematorium’s priest declared that the girl died of electrocution. The mother knew the priest was lying. She saw her daughter lying lifeless, with bruises on her body, pale-faced, and blood coming from her nose. The girl’s clothes were also wet.
Making the matter worse, the priests and three of his associates locked the crematorium’s gate. They were planning to cremate her body, explaining to the distraught mother that if she brings her daughter’s body to the police, they will steal her organs and sell them after performing the autopsy.
The priest and his associates proceeded with the cremation, despite the mother’s protest.
The girls’ father, who was at the market when the mother discovered her daughter’s lifeless body, soon heard of what happened. More than 150 people, who accompanied the girl’s father, stormed the crematorium but were already too late. By the time they got there, the cremation was almost completed. They were able to retrieve her legs, the rest of her body was burned completely.
Ingit Pratap Singh, Deputy Commissioner of South-West Delhi Police, said that they had arrested four people. The 55-year old priest, Radhey Shyam, and his three associates. The three are employees of the crematorium and know the girl’s parents.
As of the writing of this news, the investigation is still ongoing. They were able to arrest the suspects and booked them for possible rape and murder. No formal charges have been made yet.