A man accused of raping and killing a three-year-old girl in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri district was arrested after an encounter with the police on Friday, police said.
The accused, identified as Lekhram, 35, from the girl’s village, sustained a bullet injury on his leg during the gunfight near Bamhanpur village in Nighasan area in the district. He was rushed to Nighasan health centre, where he is undergoing treatment and his condition is said to be stable.
A policeman from the special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team also suffered minor bullet injuries in Friday’s encounter that was led by the district police chief, Satendra Kumar.
Deputy superintendent of police, Nighasan, Pradeep Kumar Verma confirmed the arrest.
The girl’s body was found in a sugarcane field near her village under Singhai police station limits of the district on Thursday, a day after she was reported missing by her family.
Lakhimpur Kheri superintendent of police, Satendra Kumar, said on Friday the post-mortem examination had confirmed sexual assault. “The postmortem report has confirmed rape… strict action will be taken against the accused,” he said, adding: “If needed, NSA will also be invoked against the accused.”
The girl died after being strangled, according to the postmortem report.
Kumar said that IPC section 376, pertaining to rape, and charges under the protection of children from sexual offences (POCSO) Act had been added to the FIR on the basis of the findings of the post-mortem report.
The police initially suspected it to be a murder over enmity between two families. The girl’s father had then accused Lekhram in the FIR filed on Wednesday, the day the girl had gone missing.
This is the third such incident reported from the Kheri district in recent weeks. Last month, two men were arrested for allegedly raping and killing a 13-year-old girl in Isanagar police station area of the district.
On August 25,the body of a 17-year-old Dalit girl was found in a pond outside her village under Neemgaon police station limits in the district. She was allegedly raped and killed near her village.