A father and his son in India have been arrested for allegedly burning a 12-year-old girl alive on Thursday. According to police from the Raha station in Nagaon district of Assam, the victim was a domestic help hired by Prakash Borthakur, 70 and his 25-year-old son Nayanmoni Borthakur.

Nagaon Superintendent of Police, Gaurav Abhijit Dilip, said the Raha Police Station had responded to a call on Thursday afternoon from Khaigarh village, claiming their domestic help had committed suicide.

Upon arriving at the home, police found the charred remains of the girl lying in the backyard of the Borthakur residence. However, Dilip said his investigators found the father and son’s behavior to be quite suspicious.

“It surely does not look like a suicide,” Dilip said. The body of the girl has been sent for autopsy and although final result are pending, initial investigations found that the girl was murdered.

The victim, a 12-year-old tribal girl was an inhabitant of adjoining Karbi Anglong district. She had been working as domestic help with Borthakur family in Khaighar village for five years and was not allowed to go home.

In a statement from the Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (ASCPCR), the neighbors claimed the girl was physically and mentally abused regularly by Barthakur’s family and was apparently pregnant at the time of her death.

While the post-mortem report is yet to be released, police reportedly suspect that the minor girl was burnt to death by her employers.

"We have arrested both, the father and his son, after the victim's family filed an FIR. We sent them to jail today. We are now waiting for the post-mortem report," Dilip told India Today.

Dilip added further that hiring a minor girl as a domestic help is illegal.

Assam DGP Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta said, "As per her employer, the girl committed suicide. However, after initial inspection, it is suspected that she was murdered and then burnt. She was also underage to be working as domestic help. Therefore, two accused were taken into custody immediately. Investigation is on. [sic]"

Following the incident, various organizations have gathered outside the home of the Borthakurs and demanded justice for the girl.

The charge-sheet was prepared which incorporated relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, besides the provisions of the Indian Penal Code.

The police have registered an FIR under multiple sections of the IPC, which also included criminal conspiracy, murder and the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989.

More girls compared to boys have reached out for help this year on Childline 1098 helpline pixabay