Saturday, August 28, 2010

City 13-yr-old raped, killed on school trip

A sinister shroud covered the death of a 13-year-old student during a school trip in the Tungareshwar jungles in Vasai on Friday with post-mortem reports establishing rape. Police had initially registered a case of accidental death after her naked body was found floating in a river.  Vishwas Nangre Patil, superintendent of police, Thane (rural), confirmed the development. "We have sought an explanation from the doctors on the kind of sexual harassment the victim faced as borne out by the post-mortem. Based on that we will include the rape charge," said Patil.

Aishwarya Pawar, a Class VIII student of Holy Cross High School in Nirmal, Nalasopara (west), was part of a group of around 150 boys and girls who had gone to the Tungareshwar hills on Friday as part of a scouts and guides camp organised by the school. They were accompanied by four teachers.  At around 1.30 pm, when the teachers were taking a head count of the students, they found Aishwarya missing. After a search, they found her body 3 km inside the jungle floating in the river. 

The police registered a case of accidental death on their report. But the post-mortem at the Vasai public health centre by a panel of three doctors established rape. According to sources, the victim had injury marks on her private parts and thighs.  Following this, police registered a case of murder and destruction of evidence, but did not add the rape charge, prompting Aishwarya's family to protest. The victim's uncle, Surendra Pawar, a sub-inspector attached to the Meghwadi police station, along with her parents, has approached police bosses and also sought a copy of the post-mortem report under the Right to Information Act. The police have begun investigations and are trying to ascertain how Aishwarya strayed into the jungles. They suspect she may have been raped and murdered by picnickers. They are also questioning the teachers who gave the drowning theory. The police have stepped up vigil in and around the Tungareshwar hills, which is a popular destination for camping and trekking during the monsoons. 


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