Decapitated teen’s shocking tale
The mutilated body was found on Sunday. It was dumped in a field on the side of a road. It was in an appalling state. The petite 16-year-old girl had been decapitated. One of her arms had been cut off. Her face had been seared by acid.
On Friday, police announced her father had been arrested.
It's just the latest horror story to come out of rural India.
According to local media reports, it is forbidden for teenage girls to date in the East India town of Patwa Toli. This girl had committed the crime of attending her boyfriend's birthday party.
When her body was first found, the immediate sense was that it had been another gang rape and murder.
Her boyfriend was questioned.
Indian sensitivities are tense after the scandalous rape and killing of a student in New Delhi in 2012. She was attacked in a bus. All of the passengers - and the driver - raped her and beat her friend. It was an attack that shocked the world.
Initially, the young girl's family said she had been missing since December.
Her father told police he feared she had been abducted.
"We went to several places and searched our relatives' homes but to no avail," he said in a missing person's submission to police. "She could have been abducted while going to meet a friend on the evening of December 28".
But police say the girl's family quickly brought suspicion down on themselves.
They gave conflicting statements. Stories changed.
The youngest sister told police she had seen the girl with her father's butcher friend on December 31.
"After the recovery of the body, we called the parents to the police station several times to record their statements, but they made lame excuses and didn't show up," police said. "Their dubious attempt to escape interrogation further confirmed our suspicions."
Then, under interrogation, confessions were made.
"In the meantime, we picked up the butcher, who narrated the entire incident … It's a case of honour killing."
According to police, the girl told her older sister on December 28 she was going to the celebration. She slipped out of home without telling her parents.
This was unacceptable. Her Patwa community strictly enforces marriages arranged by family. They cannot marry outside their district, or caste.
Love is not permitted.
When she returned three days later, she was grabbed by her parents.
She was beaten.
"This angered the parents, who plotted the cold-blooded murder with the help of a butcher friend," police said.
She was not seen alive again.
Then the brutally mutilated body was found.
The torso was in a field on the side of a road. Her severed head was found 5km away, its face seriously disfigured.
"It's not possible that that was the spot where the murder happened and the body kept lying there without anyone noticing it,'' a police spokesman said. "She was presumably killed soon after she was sent away by the father with his friend. And then they must have kept the body somewhere before throwing it on the outskirts of the village.''
Police have not released the girl's name. But her father, Turaj Prasad, and his butcher friend have been arrested. Both have reportedly confessed their crime.
Her mother and three sisters had also been detained for further questioning.
CLASH OF WORLDS
The young girl's community was outraged by her death.
The Patwas are traditional weavers. She had worked at the looms with her mother and other community members.
Hundreds of residents of the district of Gaya took to the streets to demand justice.
But, since the arrests, the girl's Patwa community has gone quiet.
"Locals said it is an unwritten diktat for local girls not to elope," the Hindustan Times reports. "On Thursday, a stony silence prevailed in the panchayat."
"This is the cruellest incident we have seen in our lifetime. The killers acted like animals severing her head, chopping her limbs and pulling out her intestines. Our demand is simple, neither victimise innocent nor spare the culprits," the president of the 30,000 strong local weavers association told media. "Gaya police is not doing justice. The victim's parents were picked up in the wee hours and tortured to confess killing their own daughter. We were not allowed to meet them."
Another community leader said: "We never thought the police would stoop so low. The poor couple doesn't have the wherewithal to contest the case in court. But the community stands by them and would fight for justice so that the guilty are jailed, not the innocent."