Pangthang Sexual Assault-Murder Case
Gangtok: The capital city of Sikkim, was gripped by shock and horror as news of the brutal murder of an 11-year-old school girl from Sichey area surfaced. The victim had gone missing on April 10, and her mother filed a missing person’s complaint on April 11. However, her body was discovered four days later in Fambonglo village near Pangthang, located about five kilometers from Gangtok. The incident has left the local community in deep anguish and has raised serious concerns about the safety of children in the region.
Investigation and Arrest
The Gangtok District Police launched an immediate investigation into the case, focusing on CCTV footage from the Tamang Gumpa area, where the victim was last seen boarding a taxi to go home. Thanks to a prime lead from CCTV footage near Tibetan Jhora in Sichey, the police identified the accused as 29 year old Pritam Sharma, a resident of Tathangchen in Gangtok and a taxi driver with over 10 years of experience. Sharma was intercepted at Ranipool police station on the evening of Tuesday and was subjected to three hours of interrogation at Sadar Police Station.
Confession and Details of the Crime
During the interrogation, Sharma confessed to the murder and rape of the minor. According to Sikkim Police Special DGP Akshay Sachdeva, the postmortem report indicated that the victim was strangled and showed signs of sexual assault, which aggravated the offense. Sharma admitted to offering the victim a ride in his vehicle due to rain but then lured her to another location on the pretext of refueling his vehicle, where he sexually assaulted her. Fearing that she would disclose the heinous act, he strangulated her with his bare hands and tied her school uniform tie to make it look like another crime.
Accused’s Background and Police’s Message
The accused, originally from Samastipur in Bihar, was born and brought up in Gangtok and is married to a Sikkimese local with an 8-year-old child at home. Sikkim Police Special DGP Akshay Sachdeva emphasized that the accused’s caste or religion should not be considered in the case and that the police and the public should refrain from adding such emotions to the accused in order to solve the case objectively. He assured that the police will ensure the accused receives the harshest and strictest punishment as per the court of law.
Victim’s Mother’s Anguish and Demand for Justice
The victim’s mother and her relatives protested outside Sadar Police Station during the Sikkim Police press conference, demanding that the accused be hanged. The distraught mother shared her anguish, stating that her daughter had gone to school in the morning but never returned, and she searched for her frantically before filing a complaint with the police. She expressed her demand for the accused to be given the same punishment that her daughter suffered, and she even stated that she would personally torture the accused if given the opportunity.
As of now, the accused has been charged with murder under IPC 302, and once the postmortem report confirms abuse, he will also be booked under the POCSO Act, as stated by the Special DGP. The tragic incident has sent shockwaves through the community of Gangtok, and there is a growing concern about the safety of children in the region.
Gangtokian Web Team, 18/04/23