The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has questioned the delay in registering the FIR in the gruesome rape and murder of three minor sisters at Bhandara district in Maharashtra. It has also sought a reply from the state, to this effect.
Even a week after the incident, the police reportedly haven’t got any lead into the case. They are now under tremendous pressure to solve the case, which occurred on February 14.
The children, aged 11, 8 and 6 years, hailed from Murmadi village in Lakhani town of Bhandara. Their mother, a widow, work as a domestic help. The three were students of a local school.
On the fateful day, they did not return home from school. The mother then approached the Lakhani police station. The NCPCR is now trying to ascertain if the police’s reluctance to launch an investigation into the missing children sealed their fates.
The girls’ bodies were found two days later by villagers, just 500 meters from the village. The bodies were dumped in a well, littered with empty liquor bottles. The NCPCR feels that had the police launched a search operation, their bodies would have been traced much earlier. After the police were notified about the crime, they registered an accidental report, instead of an FIR.
The NCPCR now wants to know why the police filed an accident report, though prima facie it was clear that the girls were subjected to violence. The FIR, which included offences of kidnapping, rape and murder, was filed only after the local villagers staged a rally outside the police station.
Even the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has sought a report from the state on the issue. The Maharashtra police have suspended police inspector Prakash Munde for ignoring the missing report of the children.
According to the police, the eldest girl was last seen by the villagers, with money in her hand. The police suspect that outside labourers may have lured them with money. ADGP Ahmed Javed admitted lapses in handling the case by the Lakhani police. He said that the police have got fresh leads.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has announced a relief of `10 lakh to the bereaved mother.