A key witness in the case of alleged gang-rape of a 22-year-old Dalit woman from Balrampur district, who later succumbed to her injuries, has shown up. He is a local doctor, who was first called to treat the victim by the two accused at a room behind a grocery store run by one of the accused in a nearby market.
The doctor told reporters on Friday that one of the accused visited his clinic to take him to his house to treat the victim, introducing her as a family member at around 5 p.m. on Tuesday.
The doctor said he became suspicious when he saw the victim lying alone on a sofa.
"I returned immediately, saying that I will treat her only in the presence of her family members and started asking for her father's name and contact number. The youths then told me that they would bring the victim to the clinic with her father for the treatment, but they did not do so. Later, I came to know that she had died," he said.
The victim's mother had earlier alleged that some youths had abducted her while she was returning home from the college and taken her to a room where she was raped and brutalised.
The incident occurred on Tuesday when the woman had gone to take admission in a college near her village but did not return home till late in the evening, said Superintendent of Police (SP) of Balrampur, Dev Ranjan Verma.
The woman later returned on a rickshaw with a glucose drip inserted in her hand while the family members were searching for her.
Verma said the family members stated that the woman's condition was not good, so they rushed her to a nearby hospital and later to the Balrampur district hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries.
The woman's family alleged that the woman's hands and legs were fractured but the police officials stated that no such injuries were confirmed in the post-mortem examination.
The two accused were arrested after an FIR was registered following a complaint filed by the victim's brother. The accused were booked under sections 376-D and 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for gang-rape and murder respectively.
District Magistrate Krishna Karunesh and Superintendent of Police Dev Ranjan Verma assured the family members that the case will be sent to a fast track court and the strictest action will be taken against the accused.