Father Preserves 'Rape' Victim's Body in Salt Pit for 44 Days, Seeks Re-Autopsy
The family said they decided to preserve the body rather than cremate it because the police "botched up" the probe.
(Trigger warning: Mentions of suicide, rape.)
(If you feel suicidal or know someone in distress, please reach out to them with kindness and call these numbers of local emergency services, helplines, and mental health NGOs.)
A man preserved the body of his deceased daughter in a salt pit in his agricultural field in Maharashtra's Nandurbar district for 44 days, demanding that it be re-examined, as he claimed she was gang-raped and murdered.
Her body was taken to Mumbai's JJ Hospital by the Nandurbar Police, who assured the father of a re-autopsy and arrested three youths for the alleged abduction, rape, and murder of his daughter.
Firstpost reported that the daughter, a married tribal woman, lived with her father in Dhadgaon taluka of Nandurbar district after separating from her husband.
The Indian Express claimed that on 1 August, the 21-year-old woman from Nandurbar was found hanging in Vavi village. It further reported that the police subsequently registered the death as a suicide after conducting a post-mortem at the Nandurbar District Hospital, which ruled out any foul play.
However, The Indian Express also reported that according to the police, the woman was allegedly kidnapped by three youths on 1 August when she was on her way home. The woman's father, on the other hand, claimed that the incident involved four men.
The police further claimed that the next day, the woman called her relative in the village and informed them that she had been kidnapped and raped by a person named Ranjeey Thackeray and two others, and that they were planning to kill her. She also told them that she was in Vavi.
Later, the report added that the woman's father received a call from Vavi village, where someone told him that his daughter's body was found hanging from the branch of a tree near the village outskirts. When her family reached Vavi, they found her body on the ground.
Father Decides To Preserve Body in Protest
The woman's father alleged that she was raped by four men. Moreover, the family alleged that the police were not investigating the case properly, and in protest, they decided to preserve the body rather than perform the cremation.
The woman's uncle spoke to Firstpost and said that they got the doctor, who performed her post-mortem, to admit on the record that he botched up the autopsy under police pressure.
"He (the doctor) told us that the police officer only asked him to look for injuries on the body and not examine it for rape," the woman's uncle told Firstpost.
Subsequently, the family buried the woman in a makeshift grave, which was covered and sealed with salt. The Indian Express said that locals claimed to use this technique to preserve and "mummify" bodies in the past, as a part of a local custom.
The woman's father further told The Indian Express:
"If the body had decomposed, the police would have gotten another reason to deny us justice. So, I had to preserve the body hoping for a second post-mortem that would bring the truth out."
Recently, social activist Parineeti Phoksen from Mumbai's Thane district reached the village after learning about the incident.
Phoksen spoke to Nandurbar District SP PR Patil and demanded justice for the family.
Local MP Heena Gavit also intervened and demanded that the police conduct a second autopsy at the earliest.
Shrikant Bhumre, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Dhadgaon, said:
"We had carried out the post-mortem in a government hospital and found that it was a simple suicide case. On the basis of the statements of the victim's father, we caught Ranjeet Thackrey and later released him, as there was no offense against him."
Police To Re-Examine Body After Public Uproar
After a severe public uproar, the SP ordered the Dhadgaon Police to exhume the woman's body and re-examine it thoroughly.
The Dhadgaon Police registered a case against the three accused. DSP Bhumre said, "We were satisfied with the details and statements given by the victim's family members and relatives."
"Acting on the complaint, we have today arrested three suspects – Ranjeet Thackrey, Sunil Valvi, and Amar Valvi – all residents of Vavi village. At present, it is difficult to say anything. We are carrying out a probe."Shrikant Bhumre, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Dhadgaon
"The autopsy will be video-recorded in the presence of a magistrate. Making arrangements for all the documents and procedures takes time," a hospital official said.
(With inputs from Firstpost and The Indian Express.)
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