The brutal murder of a minor Muslim girl in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district has left the state in shock. Despite a week passing since the discovery of her mutilated body, little progress has been made in the case. Activists suspect foul play in the post-mortem report, accusing the police of concealing evidence of potential sexual assault. Allegations have surfaced that the accused, Roni Khan, is an illegal immigrant (Rohingya) with ties to the ruling Trinamool Congress Party. Furthermore, the FIR indicates that the police have neglected sections of the POCSO Act in their investigation. So far, two people have been arrested in the matter.
In this case, a First Information Report (FIR number 36/2024) was registered on January 27 at the Hariharpara police station of the Murshidabad district by the victim’s mother.
As per the complainant, Sarjina Bibi resident of Dharampur, Ramna, Sankarpur, her 13-year-old daughter Saleema Khatun (name changed to protect the identity of the minor), went missing on January 22, 2024. She went missing with cash amounting to Rs and 12 ‘bhoris’ of gold from her parent’s house and was not found until around 1 PM on January 27, 2024.
In her complaint, Sarjina accused Roni Khan, son of Rintu Khan alias Kalu, Rintu Khan alias Kalu, son of Fojol Khan, and Rasheeda Bibi, wife of Rintu Khan alias Kalu, all residents of Dharampur, P.S. Hariharpara, District Murshidabad, of kidnapping and killing the minor. Based on her complaint, the accused were booked under IPC sections 363 (kidnapping), 302 (murder), and 34 (acts done by several people with common intention).
The brutal murder of the minor girl drew massive outrage in the locality and the state all over. It has come to light that the minor’s dead body was discovered next to her parent’s house, and it was in a decomposed and bloated state, with ligature marks around her neck, her ears torn, and her eyes gauged out.
Following the registration of the FIR, an NGO, the S.S. Human Rights Foundation (registered under the Government of India), came forward in support of the victim’s family. The head of the organisation, Sangita Chakraborty, citing the negligence of the police and manipulation in the said matter, wrote a letter to the National Commission for Women.
In her letter, Chakraborty mentioned that the underage girl was influenced into stealing money and a good amount of gold from her parents, and after such items were taken by the accused persons, the young underage girl was raped and murdered horrifically, and her body was tossed away like garbage.
She further added that Roni Khan and his parents are habitual offenders and have done such acts previously as well on two occasions, once wherein they brought a girl from Kolkata and the said girl was recovered and sent back by the Inspector-in-Charge, Hariharpara Police Station, District Murshidabad, and once in Abdulpur as well.
Organiser also has a copy of the post-mortem report, as per which the minor was strangulated to death in such a horrific manner that there were fractures in her neck bones. As per the said post-mortem report by the civil surgeon, the said death was homicidal in nature, and sexual interference could not be ruled out. Further, the girl had been dead for at least 3 to 5 days.
Considering the post-mortem report, it raises concerns about the police and why they have ignored sections of the POCSO Act in this case.
Chakraborty in her letter, accused that “Roni Khan has just turned 18 years old recently, and he is the main accused person in this heinous case, and it seems like he and his family are working hand in glove with the police authorities, who have purposefully left out the rape of the underage girl, nor have they mentioned the theft that was committed.”
As of now, the accused, Roni Khan, and his mother, Rasheeda Bibi, have been arrested by the Hariharpara police on February 4. The father of Roni Khan, Kalu, has not been apprehended by the police.
Organiser spoke to Rakhi Mitra, a BJP worker in Bengal, who stated that Kalu and his family are illegal immigrants, Rohingya Muslims, not native to West Bengal. She remarked that the family has a history of such crimes but escapes consequences due to support from local TMC affiliates.
The in-charge of the national BJP IT cell, Amit Malviya, wrote on social media platform X, “After Malda, a 13-year-old Muslim girl, studying in class 8, was kidnapped on January 22 in Murshidabad. Her mutilated and lifeless body was found on the 27. The post-mortem report has been tampered with. The murderer(s) is being protected because he happens to be from the minority community and is close to the local TMC MLA, who is also a Muslim.”
Every day a Nirbhaya is being killed in Bengal, while Mamata Banerjee continues to pretend as if nothing has happened.
After Malda, a 13 year old Muslim girl, studying in class 8th, was kidnapped on 22nd Jan, in Murshidabad. Her mutilated and lifeless body was found on 27th Jan.… pic.twitter.com/A41qHTmVb6
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) February 5, 2024
In a similar case, on February 1, police reported a tragic incident where an 11-year-old girl was allegedly beheaded by her uncle in Malda district. The accused justified his actions as revenge for past humiliations inflicted by the girl’s father, claiming he had been publicly beaten by him multiple times. Authorities also suspect the girl may have been sexually assaulted prior to her murder.
The accused, a 27-year-old man, was apprehended and presented before a court, which remanded him to 12 days of police custody. The girl had been missing since January 29, and her torso and head were discovered in separate locations within Malda city.
Police investigations, aided by CCTV footage, revealed the accused’s presence with the girl shortly before her disappearance. Her father filed a complaint stating she left their residence around 6:15 pm on January 29 but failed to return.
Initially providing misleading information, the accused eventually confessed to the crime and guided police to recover the girl’s remains, as confirmed by an officer involved in the case.
The incident incited widespread public outrage, prompting various demonstrations and shop closures in Malda city. Protests demanding severe action against the accused were staged by citizens from diverse backgrounds.
Political parties, including the BJP, TMC, and CPI (M), organised protest rallies and silent vigils to denounce the heinous act. BJP’s Malda (Dakshin) district committee vice president Mousumi Mitra condemned the recurring incidents in West Bengal, emphasising the need for exemplary punishment in such cases.
The Leader of Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly, Suvendu Adhikari of the BJP, criticised the police’s response, alleging negligence that may have cost the girl her life. He lamented the prioritisation of administrative tasks over public safety, highlighting the urgent need for improved law enforcement measures.