The alleged murder of a 19-year-old woman at the hands of a renowned politician's son in the Indian state of Uttarakhand has sparked national outrage.
Ankita Bhandari, who worked as a receptionist at a Rishikesh resort owned by BJP leader Vinod Arya's son, Pulkit Arya, was killed by Pulkit and two others after she refused to offer "special services" to guests.
'They Are Trying to Turn Me Into a Prostitute'
Bhandari, who was reported missing a few days ago, was found dead and her body was recovered from a local canal on Saturday, a day after Pulkit and two others were arrested over her alleged murder.
WhatsApp text messages from the murdered Uttarakhand woman to her friend seem to confirm allegations that the teenager was being forced into prostitution by the accused men. "They are trying to turn me into a prostitute," read one of her messages to a friend who she was describing her experiences working as a receptionist at Pulkit's Vanatara resort.
Uttarakhand top cop Ashok Kumar has also said that the 19-year-old receptionist, whose body was fished out of a canal this morning, was being pressured by the resort owner to provide "special services" to guests.
Besides Pulkit Arya, resort manager Saurabh Bhaskar and assistant manager Ankit Gupta have been arrested. They confessed to the crime when questioned sternly, cops said. The resort owner told police that he had killed Ankita by pushing her off a cliff into a barrage following an altercation on Sept. 18, the night she went missing.
Resort Demolished, BJP Leader Expelled from Political Party
The incident has triggered huge backlash across the country with many demanding justice for the teenager. Earlier today, the BJP kicked out Pulkit Arya's father -- senior leader and former state minister Vinod Arya -- and his brother Ankit Arya from the party. The state government also relieved them of their positions as Chairman of the Uttarakhand Mati Kala Board and the Vice President of the state OBC Commission, respectively.
Civic authorities demolished parts of the resort overnight, saying it was built "illegally". This morning, angry locals torched parts of the resort building that still remain. They are demanding that the resort be completely razed.
Another Girl Went Missing from Pulkit's Resort 8 Years Ago
According to OPIndia, as more details of the case are emerging, now it has come to light that a similar incident had happened in the resort eight years ago. A girl had gone missing from the same resort, but she was never found and the case remains unsolved.
One of the locals named Bittu Bhandari revealed that a similar incident had happened in the now-demolished Vanantra resort around 8 years ago. "7-8 years ago a female staff named Priyanka working at the same resort had gone missing and has not been found to date. Nobody knows what happened to her", he said, adding that the resort managers and directors then had said that she had fled away with resort cash and a few expensive handy assets. The police are not investigating that case as well.