Violence erupted in Sihani Gate area of Ghaziabad on Thursday afternoon after the body of a five-year-girl was found in a semi-nude state. Alleging rape and shouting slogans against the government and police, protesters blocked the NH-58 and hurled stones at police.
With UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav scheduled to attend a function in Modinagar, 15 km from protest site, police resorted to the use of force to disperse the mob. The Provincial Armed Constabulary responded to the stone-pelting with lathicharge, rubber bullets and tear gas shells. At 1.30 pm, police estimated that the crowd had swelled to nearly 800.
Senior officers said no major injuries were reported.
The girl’s father said she had gone missing around 6 pm on Wednesday and her body was found around noon on Thursday.
“I was out for work and my wife was attending a puja in the neighbourhood. My daughter was playing in the lane nearby. After she went missing, we went to the Nandgram chowki to file a complaint. They took the complaint down in writing. When we went there again in the morning, the constables told us that they would contact us if they found my daughter. At 12 noon, some boys who were playing cricket near the empty plot in our locality came across the body. There were injuries on her face and blood marks all over her body,” the father, who works as car painter, said.
The girl’s blood-stained pajamas and black shoes were at the spot where the body was found till 6 in the evening. The bricks lying there also had blood on them. Around 6 pm, a team of 15 police personnel removed the evidence from the spot.
Superintendent of Police (City) S S Yadav said: “We have begun investigations and a case of murder has been registered. While residents have alleged rape, we are waiting for the post-mortem report. It will also tell us the exact cause of death.”
Police said a few persons in the mob were “politically motivated” given the Chief Minister’s visit. This section of crowd, SS Yadav said, “had no connection with the family and were not local residents. They tried to burn posters of the Chief Minister and stoked the violence. Some of them have been identified and they will be apprehended soon”.
A police officer said: “No serious injuries were reported. One police constable has received injuries to the head. Sporadic incidents of stone-pelting were on till 3.30 pm. Twelve people have been detained. More will be identified soon.”