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The roads leading to Old Nangal village, near Delhi Cantonment, were blocked from either sides on Tuesday, 3 August.
Hundreds of women and men from the villages had gathered under a make-shift tent outside a crematorium where a nine-year-old girl, a member of the Valmiki community, was allegedly raped, murdered and forcibly cremated, a day earlier.
"I just want my child back. I will give anything to have her back. Just give me my daughter back," Gudiya's mother, who was in shock, told The Quint.
"She went to fill water in the evening. When she did not come back for a long time, we all kept searching for her. The priest then called me and said that she was electrocuted. He said that if we go to the cops or hospital, they will steal her kidney. He said he will do her cremation for free. I saw the burnt body of my daughter and was in shock. Please give me my daughter back."Gudiya's Mother to The Quint
The accused have been identified as Radhey Shyam, the priest at the crematorium, and Kuldeep Kumar (63), Laxmi Narain (48) and Mohd Salim (49), all of whom the locals say were acquainted with the girl.
“He told her mother to not scream or shout. He just said that whatever has happened has happened. And then set Gudiya on fire."Gudiya's Aunt
'Want Justice, Want Accused to Be Hanged'
Even before the parents could process what happened, Gudiya's neighbors say that, her body was 'half-cremated.'
"Her lips were blue and she had burn marks here and there. So when the neighbors and the rest of us reached, she was being burnt alive," alleged Sunita, who identified herself as Gudiya's aunt.
Kishore Beniwal, who resides in the Old Nangal village, said that Gudiya's parents are ragpickers and lived near the crematorium. They even helped clean the place – which is how Gudiya became acquainted with the priest.
"By the time villagers reached the spot and convinced the parents to call the cops, her body was already half-cremated. However, the cops were also not cooperative. They took the parents and questioned them instead of nabbing the accused. This is because we are poor people."Kishore Beniwal
The villagers then put out the fire. However, they could only save parts of her feet, some scalp and a part of her hip.
'Why Are You Not Showing A Copy Of The FIR?'
DCP (Southwest) Ingit Pratap Singh said that as per the girl’s mother's statement, an FIR has registered under IPC sections 304-A (causing death by negligence), 201 (destruction of evidence), 342 (wrongful restraint) and 34 (common intention), as well as the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, SC/ST Act, and IPC sections 302 (punishment for murder), 376 (punishment for rape), and 506 at the Delhi Cantonment police station.
However, the family claims that they do not have access to the FIR and are not able to verify whether the said charges have been filed or not.
Advocate Seema Kushwaha, who was the lawyer who led the 2012 Delhi gangrape case, said that she would like to represent Gudiya – but needed a copy of the FIR to proceed.
"I guarantee that I will take up the case. But why are the cops not providing the family with an FIR? What is stopping them? How could we proceed with the legal aspect without having an FIR? I request the villagers to keep demanding the FIR. It is the right of the family."Seema Kushwaha, Nirbhaya's Lawyer
Locals allege that the cops took the parents to the police station, kept them overnight and questioned them.
"Why are victims being questioned while the accused are let to go off? What is the point of beating us villagers for gathering on 1 August? Why are they not showing us the copy of the FIR. We need answers from the cops."Reena Chauhan, Resident, Old Nangal
The forensics team and a crime team has also collected evidence from the scene. The Delhi Police say that the report is expected in the next few days.
"Women Not Safe in India': Locals Slam Centre
Residents of the Delhi village slammed also the Central government for 'ignoring' women's safety.
They said that the government was doing 'nothing except give fancy slogans' on issues related to women.
"Beti Bacho, Beti Padhao slogan looks nice on paper. But why save girls? So that they can get raped and forcibly cremated? All these slogans are pointless. They look good in their speeches and on paper. But what happens in reality?"Gudiya's Aunt
"If the government is really concerned about safety of women, why are they not strengthening the laws? Why is there no discussion in the Parliament? No woman is safe in India. Be in inside their homes or outside. And the government is doing nothing."Reena Chauhan, Old Nangal Resident