New Delhi/Rishikesh: Suspecting that Uttarakhand Police may botch-up the investigation and tamper with the autopsy report, Ankita Bhandari’s family is saving her body at their ancestral home in Srikot in Srinagar district, refusing to cremate her.
“We want to keep the body for another autopsy,” Ankita Bhandari’s father Virendra Singh Bhandari said, talking exclusively to FP.
“That is, if we feel that the first autopsy has been forged or tampered with”.
The distraught family, now that their child is lost forever, wants complete closure and needs to know exactly what happened to their 19-year-old girl.
Meanwhile, BJP MP and former chief minister of Uttarakhand Tirath Singh Rawat met Ankita’s parents and those protesting for a fair inquiry at Srikot village Saturday night.
Questions Ankita’s family needs answered
The Bhandaris are apprehensive about the role of the police. They claim that police had dragged their feet initially and delayed arresting prime accused Pulkit Arya, son of ex-minister Vinod Arya, hence the need to preserve the body for a possible second autopsy.
A family friend of the Bhandaris, Vinay Joshi told FP that Ankita’s parents suspect that she had been alive up until they had pressured the police to act in the case and the case of her missing came into public glare due to media reportage. Ankita was killed after that, they claim.
“We have seen Ankita’s dead body; it has swollen up due to being in the Ganges for days, but how many days was she in the water?” asked Joshi.
“It matters to us and we believe that autopsy report can bring this fact to light,” Joshi added.
The family, Joshi said, believes that Ankita’s body did not appear to have been in water for so long as six days.
Location of body raises eyebrows
Another question that has tormented the Bhandari family is the location where Ankita’s body has been found.
The family believes that the dead body would not have been at the same spot from where she was allegedly thrown into the Ganges some six days ago, considering the flow of Ganges.
Joshi told FP that if the police administration tried to force them to cremate Ankita’s body on Sunday, the villagers would protest on the Badrinath Highway that runs through Srinagar.
Murder most foul
Ankita Bhandari had joined Pulkit Arya’s Vanantara resort in Rishikesh as receptionist nearly a month ago.
She had gone missing on September 19.
It was found in the investigation, five days later, that she was allegedly being forced into prostitution by Pulkit and that she also resisted Pulkit’s sexual advances.
Since the matter got escalated and news of Pulkit’s pressure on Ankita started seeping out in public and among the resort staff, Ankita was allegedly thrown into the Ganges by Pulkit Arya in the presence two others, namely the resort manager and one of Pulkit’s friends.
Public ire has erupted
Ever since the news of her murder by former minister’s son, there are huge protests going on in several places of Uttarakhand.
On Saturday morning, a group of agitated women had intercepted the police van carrying Pulkit and other accused to magistrate court and roughed them up. Disturbing visuals of the incident are circulating across social media platforms since then.
Such public anger: An angry group of locals, men and women, waylaid the police jeep taking the accused in the #ankitabhandari case to court yesterday and beat them up badly. The jeep’s windows were smashed, and their clothes were torn — police with great difficulty rescued them pic.twitter.com/W57OEcaEmj
— Aman Sharma (@AmanKayamHai_) September 24, 2022
A local MLA Renu Bisht who was trying to be a help to the deceased family also faced public’s anger as they vandalised her car. Police had to intervene to get her out of the situation.
Earlier, despite bulldozing of Vanantara resort on Friday night under orders from CM Pushkar Dhami, people set the resort on fire Saturday morning.
WATCH | #AnkitaBhandari murder case: Locals set Vanatara resort in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand on fire.
The resort is owned by BJP leader Vinod Arya’s son Pulkit Arya. Three accused, including Pulkit, have been arrested in connection with the murder case. pic.twitter.com/7Zx0T6HJIB
— ANI UP/Uttarakhand (@ANINewsUP) September 24, 2022
Following the protests, BJP government in the state swung into firefighting mode as Pulkit’s father and brother Vinod Arya and Ankit Arya, respectively, were sacked from the party. Moreover, Ankit Arya was given the sack from the position of vice-chairman of State OBC Welfare Commission.
The village authorities have arranged space at local community centre for the stay of family and friends of Ankita who have reached Srikot from different parts of Uttarakhand after hearing of her sad demise.
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