With moist eyes, grief and anger thousands bid adieu to Ankita Bhandari
Dehradun, Sept 25
Thousands of people with moist eyes, grief and anger bid adieu to Ankita Bhandari, a young girl who was allegedly murdered by a hotelier and his two accomplices near Rishikesh. The alleged main accused Pulkit Arya, is a son of a senior ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Vinod Arya, who enjoyed a minister of state rank in the previous Truivendra Singh Rawat led BJP government while his another son Ankit Arya was also vice-chairman of the Uttarakhand Other Backward Classes Commission with a ministerial rank. Both the father and his son have now been expelled from the party following the murder case.
Thousands of people had gathered at Srinagar town since morning today where the body of Ankita was brought for cremation. However, the agitated people including her father and brother insisted that complete post-mortem report of the deceased should be provided before cremation. Angry agitators blocked the Srinagar-Badrinath highway and did not allow the ambulance carrying the body.
It was on the request of Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami who assured the family of justice and strict punishment to the culprits that the father of deceased girl appealed to the general masses to allow the cremation. The Chief minister assured that the Ankita Murder case would be tried in a fast track court for quick justice and family of the deceased would be looked after the state government.
Later, in the evening the body of cremated on the banks of Alkananada River at ITI ghat in the presence of thousands of mourners.
In Dehradun, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami held a high level meeting with Chief secretary, DGP, senior police and civil officials in which all the District Magistrates were also present virtually on law and order situation in the state.
Ankita Bhandari, a 19 year old deceased girl has joined the ‘Vantara’ resort at Luxman Jhula near Rishikesh recently. According to police officials, the resort owner was pressurising the young girl for “special services” to the clients which she reportedly refused. The resort owner along with the manager of the resort and a friend took Ankita Bhandari near Chilla Canal and after a heated argument pushed her into the canal after beating her up. All three had consumed liquor before throwing the girl into the water.
Despite frantic effort by the family of the girl, the revenue police in Yamkeshwar failed to file a report. Later, after a hue and cry in social media, the case was transferred to regular police which cracked the case with the arrest of three main accused. On their interrogation, the body of Ankita Bhandari was fished out from Chilla barrage near Rishikesh on September 24, 2022.
The administration had demolished a part of the resort on the orders of the Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami. But later after criticism of removing vital evidence related to the murder and allegations by the family against the state government trying to save its’ leader, the state government and the police claimed that all the evidence related to murder are intact and preserved. An irate mob also set on fire the resort and the factory owned by the alleged accused.
The Chief Minister also ordered a Special investigative Team (SIT) headed by DIG P Renuka Devi to investigate the murder.