The Pudukkottai police have formed six teams to track down the murderers of a 14-year-old girl who was found strangled to death near Gandarvakottai on Tuesday. They are currently questioning four suspects aged between 18 and 20, who are yet to explain their whereabouts and actions during the time of the murder.
The 14-year-old girl, a native of Nodiyur, had gone to fetch water from a pond outside the village. When she failed to return to her residence, her family members went in search of her and found her unconscious in a nearby grove. She was rushed to the Thanjavur medical college but could not be saved. The postmortem conducted following her death revealed that there was no rape. But police have been unable to find any substantial leads that will reveal who attacked her.
"We are looking into multiple angles - whether she was being harassed by any men, whether there was some dispute between her family and other families and if there were any child abusers in the area," says a senior police official. "We believe it was done by someone she knows because there are no injuries on the rest of her body, which would indicate struggle. She was directly strangled," he adds.
Amongst their suspects, is a man who the victim's elder sister was allegedly in a relationship with. He and the victim had quarrelled a week before her death.
"We were told that the victim was a very brave and straightforward girl. She was against her sister's relationship and questioned the man she was seeing about his education and said he was not the right person for her sister," says the senior official. "Following this, the man had even fought with the family about this. The elder sister too, suspects that he is involved," the police official adds.
The police teams that have been formed include five inspectors, seven sub-inspectors and three deputy superintendents of police.
"We are going house by house to conduct a survey to know exactly where they were when the murder happened," says the official.
Police had earlier told TNM that when the girl was found, her clothes had been disarranged and that she did not have any pants on. Sexual intent in the murder has not been ruled out but different angles are being probed.