Prime accused in Aligarh rape case had raped his own daughter five years ago

Aligarh : An accused in the murder of a two-year-old in Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh had raped his own daughter five years ago and had been bailed out by his wife, amid growing calls for the harshest possible punishment in the case.

He had killed the two-year-old in Aligarh over a loan dispute with her grandfather with another man.

It was on Sunday that stray dogs pulling at what appeared to be human body parts from a garbage dump alerted residents of a town near Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh to a horrific crime. The mutilated body of a two-year-old girl, missing since May 30, had been found.

A hashtag using her name, trending on social media, brought the case to national attention with celebrities, politicians and others tweeting about it. The law prevents media from reporting her name as well as the accused who raped his daughter to protect her identity.

The Aligarh police say the child was strangled. The post-mortem has not confirmed rape but the police say stringent charges under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act have been added against two accused. Zahid’s brother was also arrested on Saturday.

The police said the child’s eyes were not gouged out, as her family alleges, but appeared so because the body was heavily decomposed. An arm and a leg were also broken.

The child’s body was found close to her home on the outskirts of Aligarh. Zahid and the other accused lived less than half a km away and knew the family well. So brazen was their act of “revenge”, say the police, that they left the body at the garbage dump near their house.

The police say Zahid had taken a loan of Rs. 50,000 from the girl’s grandfather and still owed him Rs. 10,000, over which the two had a fight two days before the child was kidnapped. Zahid, the girl’s family alleges, had threatened revenge for his “humiliation”. He allegedly got his partner to help him hide the body.

On May 30, the child vanished from right outside her home. Her parents, neighbours and relatives searched for her through the night before reporting her missing the next morning. Three days later, a woman who picks up trash screamed when she saw dogs nibbling at what looked like a little body wrapped in a cloth. It gave off a foul odour and was full of maggots, neighbours say.

Given the gravity of the case, it will also be investigated under the National Security Act (NSA), an anti-terror law that enables detention of suspects who pose a threat to national security for a year, say the police. Five policemen have been suspended for negligence.

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