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Uttarakhand Murder: Victim's Body Cremated, CM Dhami Assures 'Harshest Action'

The family of the 19-year-old receptionist who was murdered in Uttarakhand has now agreed to perform her last rites.

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Uttarakhand Murder: Victim's Body Cremated, CM Dhami Assures 'Harshest Action'
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The mortal remains of the 19-year-old receptionist, whose body was found in the Chilla canal in Rishikesh, were cremated on Sunday, 25 September at NIT Ghat near Alakhnanda river in Srinagar, Pauri Garhwal, The Times of India reported.

The family of the victim had agreed to perform her last rites, even as locals continued to block roads and highways, demanding justice for the teen's alleged murder.

The victim's father had earlier refused to perform her last rites, saying they are "not satisfied" with the post-mortem report. The teen's kin had also questioned the state government's action of demolishing the resort.

Massive crowd outside the mortuary in Srinagar, Pauri Garwhal district, where the victim's father arrived to take her mortal remains for cremation.

(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

The receptionist had been working at the Vanantra resort, which is owned by the main accused in the case, Pulkit Arya, the son of former Bharatiya Janata Party minister, Vinod Arya. 

She was allegedly murdered by Pulkit and two others after she reportedly resisted their attempts to push her into prostitution. The body of the woman, first reported missing, was recovered from the canal on Saturday, 24 September.

Locals in Uttarakhand have taken to the streets to demand justice while the Opposition has attacked the government for "destroying evidence."

A huge crowd of protesters demand justice, blocking roads in Uttarakhand.

(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

Meanwhile, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has assured that the "harshest action" will be taken against the perpetrators.

"This is a very heinous crime. Whoever the culprit is, will not be spared."
Pushkar Singh Dhami, Uttarakhand Chief Minister

Dhami told news agency ANI that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been formed which is probing the matter. "Every angle will be examined. This type of incident can't be accepted in the state. We've taken a resolution to punish the culprits," the chief minister said.

'Not Satisfied With Report': Victim's Father

The victim's father had said earlier on Sunday, "I am not satisfied with the report. We will only go ahead with the last rites after we get the final postmortem report." 

The provisional report stated that the woman died after drowning and that her body had signs of injury caused by blunt force. 

Pulkit Arya and two others were arrested for their alleged involvement in the woman's murder on Friday.

"The CM has told me that SIT has been constituted, the case will be tried in a fast-track court," the victim's father told news agency ANI.

The postmortem was conducted at AIIMS, Rishikesh.

'Destroying Evidence': Family, Opposition on Demolition

On the orders of Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami, parts of the resort were bulldozed by the administration. A day after this, a mob of angry locals set fire to other parts of the building. 

The family alleges that this was done in order to destroy evidence. 

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The victim's father told the  media, "Why did the government destroy the building? Because one gets evidence from there." 

The Opposition too has raised questions on the demolition, with former Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Harish Rawat calling it a "planned murder."

"This is a planned murder. People suspect that this demolition was carried out to destroy evidence."
Harish Rawat

Protests in Front of Mortuary

Meanwhile, in Uttarakhand's Srinagar, a huge crowd stood protesting in front of the mortuary near the hospital, where the woman's body was taken. The protesters are demanding justice for the victim.

They are demanding that the accused be hanged and that the victim's family be compensated.

Anger spilled to the roads as protesters gheraoed police vehicles, demanding justice for the 19-year-old woman in Uttarakhand.

(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

The Badrinath-Rishikesh highway has been blocked. Police officials have diverted vehicles in an attempt to clear the jam. The markets nearby have been shut.

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Who Are the Accused?

The primary accused in the case, Pulkit Arya, is the son of Vinod Arya, the former chairman of a state board with the rank of a minister. His brother, Ankit Arya, is also a BJP functionary.

Both Vinod and Ankit have been expelled from the party. However, they claimed that they have resigned. They also claimed that Pulkit did not live with them, NDTV has reported.

Besides Pulkit Arya, resort manager Saurabh Bhaskar, and assistant manager Ankit Gupta have been arrested. The victim was last seen with the three men in a CCTV camera footage, police have said.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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