Two years have passed since the body of a teenage girl, a class 11 student, was found hanging from the ceiling fan in the hostel of Centre-run Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya (JNV), Mainpuri, Uttar Pradesh, and the case has made the news again.
The body was discovered early morning on September 17, 2019, and according to news reports the girl’s family had alleged it to be a case of rape and murder, however, the local police called it death by suicide. The police had even claimed that a “suicide note was recovered from the room in which she had stated that she was taking the extreme step as her roommates publicly humiliated and taunted her over the theft of some snacks three years ago when she was in class 8,” reported The Hindustan Times in 2019. However, according to a report in Zee news, the forensic examination report confirmed that the teenage victim had been raped. The girl’s family sat on a hunger strike to demand justice for their child.
The Uttar government then recommended a CBI probe into the death, stated the 2019 report in The Hindustan Times, after which the family ended their protest. A magistrate probe had also been ordered and a team of Special Task Force (STF) had reached Mainpuri to conduct the inquiry. A case had been registered against the principal, warden and a student of the school on a complaint by the girl’s father, stated the news report, adding that they were charged under section 302 (murder) and 376/511 (attempt to rape) of Indian Penal Code.
By December 2019, the Uttar Pradesh government had removed the Superintendent of Mainpuri, for the “delay and laxity in probe of girl’s death” reported the Times Of India in 2019. A departmental inquiry against SP Mainpuri Ajay Shankar Rai was also transferred and he was attached to the DGP headquarters in Lucknow. According to the news report, the victim’s father had also questioned the post-mortem report alleging that it “did not mention injuries on her body, while photographs showed injury marks near her ears and neck, and were also mentioned in the inquest.”
The family is yet to get justice and closure
Two years have passed since the tragedy, but the child’s family is yet to get justice and closure. On Thursday, September 16, 2021, the Allahabad High Court reprimanded the officers, and had asked UP DGP Mukul Goyal to appear before it. Apart from DGP Mukul Goyal, IG Mohit Agarwal, SP Mainpuri Ashok Kumar also appeared as did the members of the SIT, reported Zee news. The High Court has directed the authorities “to complete the investigation within a month.” According to the news report, the court also re-watched the video of the Panchnama and expressed its “strong displeasure” on the “police’s attitude”. It has been reported that Inspector Pahup Singh was posted at the Police Station Bhogaon where the case was registered. Zee news reported that the “then Additional SP and CO have also been suspended”, however some action and punishment had been meted out to the same officers earlier.
In what was reported to be a first, the HC had ordered DGP Mukul Goyal not to leave Prayagraj and appear before it. According to news reports, the court has also instructed that SP Mainpuri should “either he should be removed or forcibly retired.”
Was the postmortem report tampered with?
It is being reported that the bench of Acting Chief Justice MN Bhandari and Justice AK Ojha, after seeing the video, noted that “it appears that the report has been tampered with” and that the “hanging marks on the neck of the deceased student are raising suspicion”. The court instructed DGP Mukul Goyal to take “strict action” right away.
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