State Women Commission chief Manisha Gulati meets family of toddler killed by neighbour in Ludhiana

The family of the victim are inconsolable and demand strict action against the accused.

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The Punjab State Commission for Women chairperson Manisha Gulati, on Monday, met the bereaved family of toddler killed in Ludhiana. The two and a half-year-old Dilroz was killed by her neighbour on November 28 over a petty issue.

The family of the victim- father Harpreet Singh, mother Kiran and grandfather Shaminder Singh- are inconsolable and demand strict action against the accused Neelam.

Ms Gulati expressed her condolences to the family and firmly stated that the accused will not be spared. "Will do everything to get the culprit punished," she added.

The women panel chief, who sat beside the bereaved mother, became emotional after seeing photographs of the child. "This is a heinous crime and the culprit should be punished. Women of the entire Punjab should pray for the child."

What happened to Dilroz?

Dilroz, the 2.5-year-old daughter of head constable Harpreet Singh, went missing at 2:15 p.m. on November 28. The family started looking for the toddler but was unable to locate her after which they alerted police at 3 p.m.

A search operation was launched.

The police reviewed the CCTV cameras and noticed their neighbour Neelam (35) taking Dilroz. The accused confessed to murder when questioned. She reportedly kidnapped the girl, took her to a construction site, hit the toddler with a heavy object and later buried her alive.

Autopsy reports revealed that the accused had twice bludgeoned Dilroz before burying her in a pit. "The victim’s head was smashed twice with a heavy and blunt object. 
The cause of death was suffocation," stated reports.

Mother had called accused before murder

Dilroz's mother Kiran, who is in an inconsolable state, recalled that she was calling out Dilroz to come inside and have some rest. As Dilroz did not respond, she went searching for her. Meanwhile, one of Neelam's sons said his mother had taken Dilroz on her scooter. 

"I contacted Neelam and asked her to look after Dilroz because she is used to sleeping after lunch, but Neelam stated that Dilroz was not with her." 

Later another kid of the locality informed that he saw Dilroz with Neelam, after which "I contacted the police."

Accused tried to play “unbothered”

According to Sub-Inspector Balkar Singh, “when Neelam reached an under-construction colony in the Salem Tabri area, she spotted a pit in a vacant plot adjoining a field and decided to bury Dilroz.”

Neelam has confessed to brutally beating up the toddler and then forcing her to lie face down in the pit. "She, then, filled the pit with soil, returned home and acted unbothered after getting to know about the search operation."

After a lengthy interrogation, Neelam confessed to the crime and a police team was rushed to the spot to retrieve the toddler. “Dilroz was rushed to DMCH, where doctors declared her brought dead,” said an official.

The accused has been arrested by police, and an FIR has been filed at Shimlapuri police station under Section 364 of the Indian Penal Code (kidnapping with intent to kill).

Reason for the killing

Neelam was involved in a dispute with Harpreet Singh and his wife over a minor issue, according to police. Shaminder Singh, the victim's grandfather, said he had scolded the accused's sons for causing a ruckus in the street. 

"She had been nursing a grudge against them ever since, and the murder was a result of that," said a police official.

Neelam, who is divorced lived with her two sons and parents.

Neelam’s family had recently sold their home and were relocating. It was their last day in the house, and they had already moved the majority of their possessions to their new home.