20-year-old girl found dead with burn and stab injures in Kancheepuram

Chennai: While Hyderabad is grieving the loss of a 26-year-old veterinarian, who was allegedly raped and murdered at Shadnagar, a 20-year-old Dalit girl from Kancheepuram was found hanging in a private garden with stab marks and burn injuries.

The deceased girl was identified as B Roja (20) from Aandi Siruvallur village near Walajabad. She reportedly worked in a private company in Kancheepuram town, which neighbours Chennai.

Police said that Roja had gone for work as usual on November 21, but did not return even until late night. Worried over this, the family began searching for her, and as they failed, they filed a missing-person complaint with Kancheepuram Taluk police station two days later.

When the police launched a search for Roja, a few locals informed them that they found a girl’s body in a private garden, just two kilometres away from the girl’s house. Police claim that the property belongs to a politician.

Kalaichelvan, Deputy Superintendent of Police Kancheepuram, who headed the investigation team, said that Roja is believed to be in a relationship with R Rajesh (30) from Karai village.

Police state that Rajesh’s village is situated close to Roja’s house and he works as an operator of earthmovers in a private company. He is reportedly previously married and has two children. The police investigation revealed that the duo had been in a relationship for over a year, and Rajesh’s wife, who learnt this, left him. “Recently, Roja’s parents learnt about the relationship and warned the duo to break ties. On November 21, she was last seen with Rajesh,” said a police officer.

As Roja did not return home, her parents tried called Rajesh, who confirmed that she was with him and promised to drop her the same night. However, two days later, as she did not return, her parents tried Rajesh again. He informed them that Roja had left to her house on November 21. After the conversion, his phone was found switched off.

Suspecting foul play, Roja’s family lodged a complaint and police found the body with burn injuries. Kancheepuram Taluk police registered a case under section 306 of IPC (Abetment to suicide) and SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, claiming that the girl was found hanging. Police informed that the actual cause of death, and whether or not she was raped, would only be known after autopsy.

Meanwhile, Roja’s father Boopathi filed a complaint, stating that they suspect Rajesh and others of gang-raping his daughter and brutally murdering her. Roja’s body has been sent to Kancheepuram Government Hospital for autopsy and police have detained Rajesh for enquiry.

Soon after the news broke, party members of VCK and CPM staged a roadblock near the Kancheepuram Collector’s office. The protestors claim that the police are partial about the investigation, as the suspect belongs to an upper caste.

On Friday, news of Roja’s death went viral on social networking sites. The online activists are seeking justice for her death.

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