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5-year-old strangled in revenge on father

Calcutta, Sept. 18: A five-year-old girl, whose gagged body was found yesterday with her hands and legs tied with ropes, may have paid with her life for a piece of information that her father passed on to police about some criminals, which had eventually led to their arrests.

On Tuesday night, the police had recovered the body of Farida Khatoon from an abandoned hut on the Gobra burial ground premises in Topsia. Her father, Sheikh Shaukat, a butcher in Sonarpur, had lodged a complaint with the police after his daughter went missing on Monday afternoon.

The police suspect that the “revenge killing” had been preceded by gang-rape of the child. “Circumstantial evidence indicates that the girl was murdered after being raped by the killers,” said additional commissioner of police Kiriti Sengupta. “The girl had been gagged and stripped, suggesting molestation. Eventually, she was strangled to death. However, a clearer picture will emerge only after we get the post-mortem report.”

Officials of the detective department said initial investigations had revealed that Shaukat had also taken up another “profession” of late. He used to work as an informer of the railway police’s Sealdah, south section, tipping them off about criminals in his area.

Recently, the police said, acting on a tip-off provided by Shaukat, several criminals involved in a train robbery from South 24-Parganas’ Taldi area were arrested. Shaukat once lived in Taldi, and according to the police, he knows the area and its residents “like the back of his hand”.

However, the deputy commissioner of police, (headquarters), Shivaji Ghosh, said: “Nothing can be said till we have received the post-mortem report. We are verifying all aspects of the case and checking whether a tip-off to the police was responsible for the girl’s death. We shall also take up the matter with the railway police and find out about Shaukat’s activities. He has told us that he had no rivalry with anyone, but we are also verifying his statement.”

The police claim that they have got some “vital leads” after tracking down associates of the criminals arrested on Shaukat’s tip-off.

“We have learnt that these associates had come to know of Shaukat’s role in the arrests,” an officer said.

“We have also found out who they are. We are on their trail and should be getting to them soon.”

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