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    Modasa: Dalit girl was gang-raped and was hanged, villagers rise up in protest, demands for justice

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    After the body of a 19-year-old Dalit girl, who was allegedly kidnapped, gang-raped and murdered, was found hanging from a tree near a village of Modasa in north Gujarat on 5 January, hundreds of residents crowded the Ahmedabad civil hospital demanding the arrest of the culprits and suspension of the police officer on duty.

    A panel of doctors at the Ahmedabad civil hospital on 8 January conducted the postmortem after the police lodged a case of kidnapping, gangrape and murder against four people.

    According to sources, the four accused had allegedly kidnapped the victim and gang-raped her before killing her. After murdering the victim, the perpetrators hanged her body from a tree to make it appear like a case of suicide.

    The victim had gone missing on 31 December, 2019, after which her family approached the police on 1 January to lodge an FIR but, the local police refused.

    The girl’s aunt as said, “When she went missing, her father went to file a complaint, but the police did not accept it. They did not file the rape FIR till two days after the body was found.”

    According to the report, on 3 January, police inspector at the Modasa police station NK Rabari informed the family that the girl had married a man from the same community and would come back.

    However, the next day, Rabari refused to register a case saying that he didn’t have any jurisdiction in the matter. He further asked the family to approach Sabalpur police station.

    On 5 January, the victim’s body was found hanging from a tree.

    Her family members refused to accept the body, claiming that it was a murder and not a suicide, sources reported.

    The police registered an FIR on 7 January naming four people – Bimal Bharvad, Darshan Bharvad, Satish Bharvad and Jigar in the case.

    Her body was brought to the Ahmedabad civil hospital on Wednesday. The family has refused to accept her body until the accused are arrested and Rabari is suspended for neglecting his duty.

    The case was registered under various provisions and sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act after thousands of Dalits protested in front of the local police station.

    Apart from the family, activists have also demanded the arrest of the accused in the matter.

    The girl was laid to rest on Thursday. “Thousands of people, including Dalits, gathered in the funeral procession of the victim,” the report said.

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