Unnao case | Police adds poisoning charge; says second accused not a minor

Three Dalit girls from the same family were found unconscious in their family’s field on February 17.

The police on Saturday added a charge related to poisoning after the accused, Vinay Kumar, confessed to giving three Dalit girls from an Unnao village agricultural pesticide mixed in water after one of them rejected him, leaving two dead and the third in critical condition.

Unnao Superintendent of Police Sureshrao A. Kulkarni said on Sunday that Section 328 of the Indian Penal Code (punishment for administering a poison or unwholesome drug) was added to the FIR, which already included Section 302 (punishment for murder) and Section 201 (removing evidence).

He added that the second accused, who was believed to be a minor when the police detained him, was 19 years old, according to the Aadhar card produced by his family. Mr. Kulkarni added that the police would look into any additional age proof documents provided by the family, who have claimed their son was 13 years old. Both the accused were produced before a court on Saturday and sent to 14 days’ custody, he said.

His mother said her son was 13 years old and would have gone to Class 5 had the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown not closed schools last year.

“We didn’t know that his age was 19 as per the Aadhaar card. We only got to know when the police asked for it. We are illiterate so we gave whatever date we were advised when we had his Aadhar card made,” she said.

The three Dalit girls, from the same family, were found unconscious in their family’s field on February 17 when they did not return form collecting cattle fodder in the evening. Their families found them frothing at the mouth and rushed them to a hospital, where two of the girls were declared dead on arrival.

Vinay Kumar, from a neighbouring village, had his field adjacent to the girls’ and had struck up a friendship with them since the lockdown, the police said. He had pursued one of the girls and decided to give her poison after she refused to give him her phone number, they said. According to his confession, the other two girls drank from the water bottle laced with pesticide and he couldn’t stop them, the police said. He and his accomplice then moved the girls’ bodies onto their family’s field from his field and fled.

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