Thursday, July 13, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Girl raped, burnt to death?
From Ruchika Mohindra
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, July 12 — Mystery shrouds the death of a 17-year-old girl who was found burnt on the top floor of the two-storeyed house of her foster father at around 9.30 a.m. at Nari Kalan village. She had been living there for the past 13 years.

Highly placed police sources, while talking to TNS late in the evening here today, voiced their suspicions about the victim having illicit relations with her foster father. It is also alleged that the accused, Bhagwan Singh, an independent Councillor from Ward No. 20 and a resident of Nari Kalan village, could have first poisoned the victim and later burnt her. The police was earlier also suspecting that the victim could have been pregnant and that this could have been the provocation behind the ghastly act.

The post-mortem examination of the victim that was conducted at around 7.45 p.m. today though could not establish pregnancy of the victim but the doctors in the Civil Hospital have not ruled out rape and the swab will now be sent for a chemical examination to the State Chemical Examiner’s Laboratory at Patiala.

According to information available, the victim was the daughter of a farmhand of the accused at his farmhouse in Ghungrana village. Her father, Suresh Kumar, had left the victim and his other younger daughter in the custody of the accused when his wife eloped some 13 years ago. Since then, the two girls were staying at the house of the accused in Nari Kalan village near Dhandari Kalan.

It was a couple of years ago that the victim’s mother came back to her husband and later the two decided to have their daughters back with them. Though the younger of the two siblings went back, the victim refused to join her family because of her close relations with the family of the accused.

Police sources are suspecting that the victim was having an affair with Bhagwan Singh and allegedly was making all-out efforts to marry her off elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the accused while talking to TNS has denied the allegations and instead said he had always treated the victim as his daughter. DSP Gurjit Singh Romana, said the police was investigating the matter.

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