Delhi hit-and-run case: Young woman’s horrific death shocks Indiaon January 3, 2023 at 6:44 am

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Reports say the woman was dragged for miles after her scooter collided with a car.

People protesting in Delhi

The gruesome death of a 20-year-old woman in India’s capital Delhi on 1 January has shocked the country.

Media reports say the woman, who was an event manager, was returning from work in the early hours of 1 January when her scooter collided with a car.

Police say the driver of the car, which had four other passengers, kept driving it for miles, dragging the woman’s body along.

Several CCTV videos have emerged that show the body underneath the car.

What has happened so far?

Police have said that a search operation for the vehicle was launched after they received two calls on Sunday morning – one regarding a woman being dragged by a Maruti Baleno car, and another after the woman’s body was found lying on a road in north Delhi.

They arrested the accused and found the car after launching a manhunt.

The accused have been charged with culpable homicide and causing death by negligence, senior police official Sagar Preet Hooda said.

The accused had borrowed the car from a friend to drive it in the intervening night between 31 December and 1 January, police said.

They added that the accused abandoned the victim’s body on the road and fled the scene.

The accused, who are in police custody, have not made any statements yet.

Police have said that they will be taken to the scene of the crime to “verify their version of events” and that the car will be examined by a team of forensic experts.

Officials also said that they would use a dummy to verify the accused men’s claim that they didn’t hear screams of the victim because they were playing loud music in the car.

What does the victim’s family say?

Relatives of the victim – who was the only earning member of her family – have claimed that she was sexually assaulted before being killed.

The woman’s mother questioned why the body was found naked while her uncle has claimed that the condition of the body “shows that she has been sexually assaulted”, the Times of India newspaper reported.

On Monday, local residents and the victim’s family members protested outside the Sultanpuri police station, demanding a thorough investigation into the matter and justice for the victim.

However, police officials have not confirmed that the woman was sexually assaulted.

“False and frivolous media reports of the incident being a rape and murder case are being circulated,” PTI news agency quoted a police officer as saying.

The woman’s body was on Monday sent for a post-mortem examination to the Maulana Azad Medical College in Delhi. A medical board has been constituted to conduct the autopsy. Police have said that based on the post-mortem report, fresh charges could be added against the accused.

Politics over the death

The case has also sparked a political row in the national capital.

The Aam Aadmi Party, which governs Delhi, has been protesting against the federal government over what they call weak security in the city. The AAP doesn’t have any control over the city’s police force, which reports to the federal home ministry.

On Monday, party members protested outside Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena’s office, demanding his resignation over the issue.

The federal government appoints the lieutenant governor of Delhi.

Speaking to the media, AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj also alleged one of the five accused was a member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and accused Mr Saxena and police officials of “deliberately concealing this information”.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a tweet demanded that “exemplary action” should be taken against the accused, adding that that no leniency should be shown towards them even if they had “high political connections”.

Home Minister Amit Shah has not directly responded to the AAP’s criticism, but he reportedly spoke to the police commissioner and has ordered a swift inquiry into the incident.

Meanwhile, Mr Saxena said that he was overseeing the investigation.

He had earlier said that he was shocked by the “monstrous insensitivity of the perpetrators” and that his head “hangs in shame over the inhuman crime”.

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