Barabanki: An 18-year-old Dalit girl, who was found dead in an agricultural field in Barabanki district in Uttar Pradesh, was raped before being strangled, police said on Friday citing post-mortem report.
The girl's body was found on Wednesday in a paddy field.
The police had initially filed a murder case against an unidentified person but after the post-mortem report confirmed sexual assault, the charge of rape under IPC section 376 was added to the FIR.
The post-mortem examination has confirmed that the woman was raped before she was strangled, informed Additional Superintendent of Police (Barabanki) Ram Sewak Gautam.
"The FIR, on Wednesday, was registered under section 302 of the IPC. On Thursday, we have added section 376 (rape) of the IPC based on the post-mortem report. We are questioning a few suspects after primary investigation." said ASP Gautam
Charges related to rape will be included in the FIR registered at Satrikh police station, he added
The father of the woman had informed police on Wednesday evening that she had gone to the fields but did not return home. Later, family members found her dead.
A police team visited the village and collected evidence before lodging an FIR, the police officer said.
According to the girl's father, she had gone to the fields in the day to harvest the crop.
"Around 5.30 pm, when she did not return home, I got worried and started looking for her. Around half an hour later, I went to the field and saw her slippers. A little ahead, I found her lifeless body," he said.
The victim was the eldest of four siblings. While her younger sister is around 15, her twin brothers are around seven.
However, there is confusion over the girl's age and the police have not added the charges under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
While the family claimed that she was 17 years old, police said that in their first complaint, the family had said that the girl was above 18 years.
IG (Ayodhya Range) Sanjeev Gupta, meanwhile, said that the age of the victim would have no bearing on the investigation.
The victim was cremated on Thursday evening after the police assured them of arresting the accused at the earliest.
The rape and murder of the woman in Barabanki came days after a 19-year-old Dalit woman died after she was assaulted and allegedly gang-raped in Hathras district.
The Hathras woman died at a hospital in Delhi on September 29, a fortnight after her assault allegedly by four upper caste men of her village.
The assault and death of the Hathras woman, and her cremation by the authorities in the dead of the night, triggered an outrage and protests in parts of the country.
(With inputs from ANI and PTI)