Recap: [Rita screamed in pain and she begged the man to let her go. But her pleas went unheeded because the heartless man was too obsessed with his own lust. The man just looked at her, watching her terrified eyes, as he tied her arms around the tree. He stood, next to her, watching Rita writhe in fear. ]
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He continued to stare at her pale form. She blinked again and a sickening smile came into view “Where am I?” She whispered, almost not expecting an answer “Oh, that doesn’t matter” he cooed softly. In one swift deft movement, he brought a flashing silver polished blade down as I screamed.
She said, “Who are you?” Rather more loudly than she had intended. Unfortunately, her tone had allowed him to reassure himself that she was indeed scared of him. She was utterly mortified and terrified beyond belief, but she had not wish to allow him comfort in this knowledge, that was her little fragment of power in this situation and she would not let him have it.
The girl later described the details of the assault, “There are no words to explain the fear and terror of thinking this person could pull over and kill me at any moment. I had no control over my fate. I lost all hope. I thought about my parents a lot. I knew that they were looking for me and that they loved me. I had no doubt in my mind that they would find me.”
Nishu was playing with other children in front of her house, when she went missing. Her father registered a missing person complaint on 19 October. The same morning, Bhana Ram and Gurdev Singh found Nishu near a sugarcane field in Mahadipur village. She was severely injured: her windpipe in the throat was cut, and she could not speak. Gurdev Singh informed the police, who admitted the girl to PGI Chandigarh. After Singh’s arrest, she identified him from his pictures in newspapers, and testified against him in the court. Rajesh was found naked and sexually assaulted.Sister of Rajesh. While she was found with clothes on, her brother was stark naked.
Toffees turn out to be his nemesis
One can plan for the end, but the reality rarely matches the abstract. It happened to Darbara Singh, the notorious child killer of India.
By September 2004, panic had spread among the local residents. In the preceding 4 months, 14 children had been kidnapped, but no ransom demanded, and ten of them were still missing.
In the meantime, a chopped arm of a child was found near Variana. After a few days, the partly decomposed body of a 10-year-old girl was found in Chaheru, a village in Phagwara Tehsil in Kapurthala district of Pujab state, India. It is located 40 kms (25 miles) from Kapurthala and 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) from Phagwara.
Police was searching for a man whose height was 5’, have black and white short hair, but not too short. He had a bicycle A witness told the police that he had seen a middle-aged man talking to the girls. He had taken a girl riding on his cycle. Police though
According to Mr Rajpal Sandhu, Mr Rakesh Kaushal, both SPs, Mr Rajjit Singh, Mr Rajinder Singh and Mr Charanjit Singh, all DSPs and part of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed by Mr Bhullar for cracking the crime. They were informed that the killer used his cycle for committing crime and enticed children by offering sweets and eatables to them in localities dominated by migrant laborers. His preferred time to perform his ‘operation’ was between 10 am and 12.30 pm when most of the migrant laborers were in the factories. He was such a man who had a record of sex crimes; a hardcore rapist who slobbers around the laborer colony. His big advantage was he targeted the children who were too innocent to find the evil.
The Special Investigation Team (SIT) analyzed the killer’s modus operandi. Witnesses who had seen the man in question were asked to draw sketches of him to aid the cops in their composite drawings of the man. Finally, police prepared his sketch based on information gathered from different sources. The descriptions and drawings of the man were all very similar, indicating that only one man as probably involved in the slayings.
Darbara Singh, resident of Jallupur Khera village of Amritsar, perhaps did not know while committing crime that one of his own sweet weapons – toffees- would have a bitter taste for him and would lead to his arrest one day. On the morning of 29 October 2004, the police received information about a bicyclist, who resembled the sketch and was seen with a bag of toffees. SHO Pritam Singh was dispatched to nab the person, who turned out to be Darbara Singh. When the police party intercepted him near Bastian, Singh threw away his bicycle and tried to run away. The police apprehended them and questioned him, following which he confessed his crimes.
He could have slipped out of the police dragnet by posing as an ex-serviceman had he not been carrying a bag containing a handful of toffees, which made policemen suspicious. As he was busy answering the questions of the police party, it was his resemblance to the sketch of the baby killer prepared by the Jalandhar police in the last week of October that aroused further suspicion.
Police sources revealed an interesting story. As soon as Darbara Singh was intercepted, he started reeling out everything. “At the very first moment when he was stopped, he told the police party that they had reached the right place. Then he requested police officials not to beat him up, as he was ready to come out with minute details of the crimes committed by him. In fact, what brought success to us was the sustained study of the modus operandi adopted by this psychopath. What alarmed us was the almost similar kind of method used by him against all his victims. However, what baffled us a bit was the recovery of some bodies from different spots,” said Mr Bhullar.
According to the police, Darbara confessed to having targeted 23 children, out of whom he killed 17. However, the police suspect that the actual number of victims could be more. Their suspicion was based on similar abductions in Kapurthala district and recovery of two more mutilated bodies of babies in jungles of Jallupur Khera village of Amritsar district.
READ MORE: A True Crime Series by Tarak Ghosh
October 29, 2004
A specter of fear terrifying local residents for the past over seven months almost vanished in this morning as a cruel serial baby killer, Darbara Singh, who not only ruthlessly killed 17 innocent children of migrant laborers here but also surpassed all boundaries of cruelty by allegedly subjecting his dead victims, mostly girls, to rape attempts, was finally arrested by the local police. On how the serial killer was nabbed by the police, Mr Bhullar said it was possible only after the SIT studied the modus operandi adopted by the suspect in detail and a sketch was made on the basis of information gathered from different sources. They got information that a person resembling the sketch was going on his cycle along with a bag of toffees. SHO Pritam Singh was dispatched to nab the person, who turned out to be Darbara Singh.
Darbara’s hatred against migrant labourers was so intense that he asserted in front of the Jalandhar SSP, Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, that he could have killed more children of migrant labourers had he not been arrested by the police “so soon”.
“Though he has confessed to having killed 17 children — 15 girls and two boys — we are still interrogating him to elicit more details. We had to lay a number of traps for him and I think he is India’s first serial killer who has been so barbaric. He has killed 17 children. What is more stunning is his confession that in a fit of rage he even tried to rape or sodomise dead bodies of his victims,” said Mr Bhullar.
Darbara Singh had been nurturing a grudge against the migrant laborer community for their “role” in his conviction in 1996 in a triple attempt to murder case in Kapurthala. His modus operandi was to lure his victims using toffees, samosas (oil cake), sugarcane juice and sweets. Then he would take them to a secluded place.
According to investigations, in most cases, he would slit the throat of his victim and subject the bodies to attempt to rape. “I did this so that there would be no shrieks of victims,” Darbara said.
Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP and the officer behind the cracking of the crime.
Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP and the officer behind the cracking of the crim, said “Our officers suspected the accused the very first moment they saw him carrying a bag of toffees. Thereafter, an informer recognized him. After this, he was put to sustain questioning, which yielded its results. He confessed to everything, despite his appearance of being a hard nut to crack. What had made our task difficult was that the baby killer was not running a gang and he had no permanent address. This led to some delay in cracking the crime.
Darbara Singh also identified the spot in Shah Changi village where he had dumped the body of another child, Laloo Parsad (6), after murdering him on August 16.
Nishu, who had escaped from his clutches on 22 October, identified him from his pictures in newspapers. Ilaqa Magistrate K.K. Kareer remanded him in 10 days’ police custody. After his medical examination and court appearance, Darbara Singh led the police to a place near Kadianwali village. There, the police found bodies of two victims, Khursheed and Ronku, who had been killed on 25 October.
The bodies, which were recovered in the presence of an Executive Magistrate, had not decomposed. While the body of Khursheed had clothes on, Roku’s body was naked and the throat had been slit. “Darbara Singh killed Khursheed as he feared he could identify him,” said Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP, who lead the recovery operation. “We will also take him to the Khadoor Sahib-Rayyia area, where Darbara Singh has confessed to have dumped a large number of bodies,” added Mr Bhullar. (To be continued…) Copyright: Tarak Ghosh