Surat: With police digging deep into the investigation of a body of a minor girl which was found by morning walkers, probe suggests that the girl between the age of nine to 11 years was possibly held captive, tortured and raped before being killed.
The body of the unidentified girl was found earlier this month near a cricket ground in the Bhestan area and had 86 injury marks, police said.
A five-hour-long autopsy found the injury marks on her body, including some in her private parts, indicating that she was tortured and raped, Inspector K B Jhala of Pandesara police station said. The post-mortem revealed the girl had been strangled and smothered, he added.
While the police had earlier said that a body of a girl had been found, details of the case were made public on Sunday with Surat Police Commissioner Satish Sharma holding a press conference.
It came on a day when people across the country took to streets to protest, calling for justice for the gangrape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua and a 17-year-old who has accused a BJP MLA in Uttar Pradesh of raping her.
In Surat, men and women held a silent candlelight march. The protests echoed the mass rallies against sexual violence in 2012 and mounted pressure on the government.
Police have registered a case under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act besides other sections against unidentified persons, he said.
Ganesh Govekar, a doctor at the City Civil Hospital where the autopsy was conducted, said, "Going by the nature of injuries, they seem to have been caused over a period ranging from one week to a day prior to the recovery of the body, suggesting that the girl, who is between nine and 11 years of age, might have been held captive, tortured and possibly raped."
The police commissioner said the investigation has been handed over to the city police's Crime Branch and all efforts are being made to identify the girl.
"We have gone through the data of missing children in Gujarat and also in other states like Odisha and West Bengal, as she might be from another state. There was no sign of struggle at the spot where the body was found. The post-mortem report says she was killed six to 24 hours before the body was dumped. It is possible that she is from outside Surat," he said.
The police have announced Rs 20,000 reward for anyone helping in identifying the girl or giving information about the culprits, Sharma said.
(With inputs from agencies)