Sanjali Chanakya was doused with petrol and set on fire by two unidentified bike-borne men while on her way home from school. Police suspect her cousin brother conspired to kill her when she rejected his advances. He later committed suicide.
Agra: On December 18, Sanjali Chanakya, a Dalit Class 10 student, was returning home from Asharfi Devi Chidda Singh Inter-College in Naumeel village, which she attended, to her residential village of Lalau, roughly five kilometres away in the Agra district. She breathed her last two days later at Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi on December 20.
Sanjali was doused with petrol and set on fire by two unidentified bike-borne men while on her way home. She suffered 55% full thickness burns and succumbed to her injuries. Two days later, her cousin brother committed suicide.
Six days after the 15-year-old was burnt to death, the Uttar Pradesh Police on Tuesday said they have cracked the case and that Sanjali was killed by her cousin brother Yogesh and two of his relatives.
Agra SSP Amit Pathak said on Tuesday, "We have recovered a love letter from Yogesh's room, which was addressed to Sanjali. She had rejected his proposals saying Yogesh was her brother. After this, Yogesh wanted to take revenge on Sanjali."
According to police, Sanjali's cousin, Yogesh had been stalking her and was dejected after she refused to reciprocate his advances. 24-year-old Yogesh, who committed suicide soon after Sanjali's death, had gathered two of his relatives and planned the murder in advance.
“Police have now nabbed two of the killers who poured kerosene on the schoolgirl and set her on fire on the instructions of Yogesh. Two days after Sanjali passed away, Yogesh consumed poison and killed himself. Admitted at the hospital, Sanjali had said in her statement that the culprits had helmets on but she could still identify one of them as a relative of Yogesh. Sanjali identified him as Yogesh's uncle's son, Vijay,” reported India Today.
“Police have said that the two accomplices of Yogesh, Vijay and Akash, were riding a bike when they poured the kerosene on Sanjali and set her on fire, causing major burns. Police have also seized the motorbike that was used in the crime. The investigators have come across WhatsApp chats, phone call records and a love letter addressed to Sanjali, which incriminated Yogesh. According to them, Yogesh was influenced by the television programme Crime Patrol that led him to plan and execute the killing,” the report said.
The police have said that the other two accused, Akash and Vijay, were lured by Yogesh who offered them Rs. 15,000 each and it was Yogesh who doused Sanjali with petrol before setting her on fire. The police version did not go down well with Sanjali’s family. Yogesh’s father, who is the brother of Harendra Jatav (Sanjali’s father) share the same compound in the village.
Following the incident, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad also visited the family and had called for protests but they were postponed following the arrests. UP deputy CM Dinesh Sharma also visited the village and promised a compensation of Rs 5 lakh, which is yet to be delivered.
On December 18, villagers were stunned when they found out that Sanjali was burnt alive when she was returning from school. Lalau is populated in equal numbers by Jats and Jatavs and has since seen high caste tensions as a number of Dalits believed it was the work of the Jats. The incident occurred the same day that DGP Police Om Prakash Singh was visiting the district. Following the incident, several people raised doubts over the police in the state.