‘Missing’ girl’s skeletal remainsrecovered from M.P. graveyard

The skeletal remains of a 15-year-old girl who was reported missing by her parents in 2011 have been recovered from a grave in Madhya Pradesh’s Sehore district. Akila (name changed), the daughter of a farmer in Manakheda village of the district, allegedly took her own life under duress, said Sehore Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Sameer Yadav.

“Our preliminary investigations suggest that the teenage girl had disappeared twice from her home in 2011. However, none of the family members came forward to lodge a missing complaint. On both occasions, the girl was traced from Bhopal,” said Mr. Yadav.

The police said Akila’s mother questioned her after she was brought home the second time. The girl reportedly told her that a relative named Shamim, who lives in their village, and Ismail, from Moondla village in the same district, had sexually abused her.

Extreme step

Mr. Yadav said instead of consoling her daughter, Akila’s mother rebuked her, and she took the extreme step. After she was found dead, Akila’s parents summoned Shamim and Ismail home, placed the blame on them for their daughter’s death and asked them to help with disposing of her body.

Akila’s father and her alleged abusers buried the body in a graveyard in Mandla Khurd village. The father then lodged a complaint about her going missing in the Mandi police station, the police said. “The family hid the truth for a decade,” said Mr. Yadav.

Renewed scrutiny

The mystery surrounding Akila’s disappearance came under renewed scrutiny when the Sehore district police recently decided to open old cases as part of the State government’s campaign to find missing girls. In the past decade, theories of her assumed kidnapping and illicit relationships swirled around the tiny village before an anonymous tip-off pointed investigators towards putting focus on her family.

The Sehore administration said on Monday that several skeletal remains have been recovered while excavating the graveyard in Mandla Khurd village. Further investigations, documentary checks, physical verifications and forensic examinations are under way, the police said.

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