After almost a week of searching for a man accused of raping and murdering a minor, police are seeking public assistance. Releasing pictures and details of 30-year-old Pallakonda Raju, police have offered a reward of Rs. 1million ($13,607) for information leading to an arrest. Activists and political parties have raised public outcry over the lack of arrests following the discovery of the heinous crime.

On Thursday, Sept. 9 the six-year-old girl from Saidabad, Hyderabad District of Telangana, India was missing from her home. Search for the child ended when her semi-naked body was discovered in her neighbor Raju’s home. It is believed that the father of a one-year-old abducted the victim when she had stepped out of her home.

After abducting the child, it is suspected that, Raju raped her and strangled her to death. Her body was discovered wrapped in a bedsheet. The victim’s family suspect the man who absconded leaving the child’s body in his home.

Police shared pictures of the accused as well as his physical description. They shared that the man had long hair and tattoos on his arms. One of the tattoos read “Mounika”. He has been described as someone who is habituated to drinking alcohol and sleeping on pavements and bus stands.

Manager Director of State-run Road Transport Corporation V.C. Sajjanar told The Hindu that transport staff had been made aware of the suspect. Police shared that they have limited leads on the suspect’s whereabouts. As Raju is not carrying a cell phone he cannot be tracked. Very few CCTVs have captured the man’s movements in the past few days.

Police are questioning family members of the accused. They had even taken an individual into custody for questioning. However, they were unable to gain any relevant information.

Meanwhile, the case had drawn widespread public attention. Local Labour Minister Ch. Malla Reddy had stated that the man would be “encountered” when found. The state’s IT and Industries Minister K.T. Rama Rao had incorrectly tweeted that the suspect had been discovered.

The police have had to issue warnings to activists after information revealing the victim’s identity made it online, Telangana Today reported. Revealing the identities of victims of sexual assault is a crime, Hyderabad City Police had to warn activists of that.

The search for the accused continues.

A representational image of a child.
A representational image of a child. Counselling/Pixabay

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