The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Another teenager falls prey in shame spell

Behrampore, Feb. 18: Membhanu Khatoon, who went missing on Tuesday, was found dead ' raped and brutalised ' near here this morning.

Police said her decomposed body bore marks of injury and appeared black, as if some chemical, possibly acid, was poured on it to render it beyond recognition.

Gurudaspur Junior High Madarsa at Daulatabad, where Membhanu was in Class VI, was declared closed for the day as the news arrived.

About 3 km from school, at her home at Udaynagar, Membhanu casually stepped out of her house on Tuesday evening, never to return.

After looking for his 13-year-old daughter in all possible places, Syed Sheikh, a farmer, lodged a missing diary with the police yesterday. She was found dead in a field close to her village this today.

In Murshidabad, this is the second incident in about a month in which a girl has been brutalised. On January 15, Rupa Haldar, a Class II student, went missing. Her mutilated body was found two days later. She was first throttled to death and then cut up with knives. Six boys aged between 11 and 14 were arrested in connection with the crime.

In neighbouring Nadia, four incidents of rape have been reported since January. In three of them, the victims were in their teens. Prabhati Roy, 14, was the last to fall prey. She was raped and murdered at Bhatjangla in Krishnagar on February 11 when she went for a video show at night with a neighbourhood boy.

Murshidabad superintendent of police Sanjoy Singh said a preliminary examination of Membhanu's body revealed that she was first raped and then murdered. 'We will know the details after getting the post-mortem report.'

A member of her family said she must have been killed elsewhere and her body dumped near their village. 'Otherwise, we would not have missed her during our search.'

Marjum Sheikh, her elder brother, said: 'We have been looking for her ever since she went missing on Tuesday. Only yesterday we searched the place from where her body was found.'

Syed Sheikh 'does not have an enemy who we know of', said his neighbours.

According to the police, after the rape, Membhanu was stabbed, repeatedly.

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