Priest, three other men charged in rape and murder of 9-year-old girl – New York Post

A 9-year-old girl was gang-raped, murdered and thrown on a funeral pyre in India — with a priest and three crematorium workers charged with the crime that has sparked four days of angry protests and calls for the death penalty, according to local reports.

The unidentified girl from an impoverished, low-caste family went missing Sunday night while fetching water from a well at the crematorium in Purani Nangal village on the outskirts of Delhi, her mother told the Hindustan Times.

The mom said that when she went to find her daughter, she was met by priest Radhe Shyam, a 55-year-old family friend, who told her that the girl had been electrocuted and died.

Shyam took her to see her daughter’s body stretched out on a bench at the crematorium, where three other men were waiting, she said.

“Her eyes were closed, her lips were blackish, her nose was bleeding and water was oozing out of her mouth,” the mom told the paper, noting there was “no mud or dirt on her clothes.”

The group also fetched the girl’s father — then locked the pair inside the crematorium as they lit a funeral pyre despite the parents’ objections, the mom claimed.

“They said if we called the police, they would steal her organs,” the mom told the outlet.

“But I couldn’t keep quiet, so the moment I got back, I screamed at the top of my lungs … my girl was gone,” said the mother.

Protesters march with lit candles and placards during a silent demonstration against Narendra Modi and Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal.
Protesters march with lit candles and placards during a silent demonstration against Narendra Modi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Amarjeet Kumar Singh/Sipa via AP Images

Outraged, dozens of locals joined them, knocking down the crematorium gates and pulling the youngster’s body from the pyre, the outlet said.

“Only the legs were not burnt,” one of the local residents, Ajit Kumar, told the paper.

The angry mob then turned on the suspects, one of whom “confessed and then blamed Radhe Shyam for planning everything,” Kumar said.

The beating was so bad, the four men — identified by the Hindustan Times as the priest along with Kuldeep Kumar, 63, Laxmi Narayan, 48, and Mohammad Salim, 49 — had to be rescued by police, the paper said.

The girl went missing while fetching water from a well at the crematorium.
The girl went missing while fetching water from a well at the crematorium.

All four have been charged with rape, murder, and criminal intimidation. They were not available for comment and Reuters said it was not was not clear if they had hired lawyers.

The probe has been complicated by an “inconclusive” autopsy because “very few body parts were available,” Delhi police told the outlet.

Hundreds of people have protested each day since the murder, blocking roads and holding banners reading “give justice to the little girl” while demanding her accused killers get the death penalty.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted Tuesday that the alleged attack was “barbaric” and “shameful”.

Protesters burning an effigy of Narendra Modi and Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal during the demonstration.
Delhi Mahila Congress members protest against Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s silence on the issue of the alleged rape and murder of a 9-year-old Dalit girl.
Amarjeet Kumar Singh/Sipa via AP Images

Rahul Gandhi, a leader of the main opposition Congress party, visited the girl’s family Wednesday. “Her parents’ tears are saying only one thing – their daughter, the daughter of this country, deserves justice,” Gandhi said.

The safety of women and girls has been a major political issue in India since the 2012 gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old student on a bus in Delhi shocked the world.

There were more than 32,000 rapes recorded in India in 2019, according to the latest government data — almost four an hour. But large numbers of sexual assaults are thought to go unreported because of the stigma.

There were more than 100,000 kidnappings of women, data show, a third of them with the aim of forcing them into marriage.

With Post wires

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Priest, three other men charged in rape and murder of 9-year-old girl – New York Post

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