Minor raped, killed in Aligarh; protesters baton-charged



Aligarh/Lucknow: An elderly woman was knocked down by a police officer with his baton during a lathicharge to quell protests on Thursday over the alleged rape and murder of a six-year-old girl in which seven persons were injured.

The minor girl went missing this morning and later her body was recovered at a garbage dump in Nagla Kalar area in Aligarh, police said, as the crime sparked violent protests by locals prompting police to use force.

The victim's family alleged that she was strangled to death after being sexually abused, they said.

TV footage of the lathicharge showed the officer rushing towards the unarmed elderly woman and pushing her down using his baton, an action that triggered a condemnation of Uttar Pradesh's Samajwadi Party government by Opposition parties in unison for use of force by police on protesting women.

Deputy director information Ashok Sharma said in Lucknow that Circle Officer (Civil Lines) A K Singh, who was involved in the incident involving the unidentified elderly woman, has been removed from the post and sent to the police office Aligarh. Singh also allegedly thrashed some women protesters.

Sharma also said that a constable and a head constable, shown in video footages telecast by some TV channels, have been suspended.

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said he was pained at the police action on the elderly woman.

"When I saw these visuals on TV I felt sad about the behaviour of the policemen towards the elderly woman," he said.

Yadav said he immediately gave an order for a probe into the incident and action will be taken against whoever is responsible.

The alleged rape and subsequent murder of the girl triggered protest in the area as scores of locals gathered at Banna Devi police station here and pelted stones.

Police fired in the air and resorted to baton-charge to disperse the mob in which seven persons, including two women, were injured.

Congress leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi condemned the police high-handedness. "We strongly condemn the brutal lathi-charge on women by the policemen," said the former UPCC chief.

BJP leader Siddharth Nath Singh said, "There is complete anarchy in UP." Taking note of the incident, National Commission for Women chairperson Mamta Sharma alleged that there was no law and order in Uttar Pradesh.

Sharma said, "There is no trace of law and order in UP. It is so wrong. Policemen responsible for thrashing women should be suspended."

We will take action on Monday, she said. Meanwhile, police have detained six persons for questioning regarding the clash.

PTI