A horrified villager rescued a young girl who had been buried alive in a cane field after hearing her crying for help.
Alok Kumar, from Maanpur village, Sitapur district, was returning from his fields on Monday evening when he heard the girl's desperate cries.
He followed the muffled sounds to the middle of a cane field, where to his shock he found the soil moving as the girl tried to dig her way out.Mr Kumar started digging and unearthed a small girl who was in a semi-conscious state. He quickly pulled her out and rushed her to the nearby Maanpur police station.
The girl, called Tanu, had strangulation marks on her neck, and after gaining consciousness, informed the police that she is from Semri Gaura village, where she lived with her mother Renu Awasthi.
She was taken away from her home by a couple, reportedly her aunt and uncle, who allegedly tried to strangle her.
'Tanu has told us that a couple took her with them a few days ago and tried to strangulate her. They later buried her in the field. She, however, could not recognise them,' Sitapur police chief Rajesh Krishna told Mail Today.
The Sitapur police got in touch with the Lucknow Police, who were able to trace Tanu's house.
According to the neighbours, nobody had seen the victim and her mother since August 20. The house was found to be locked.
As news of the girl's rescue flashed onto TV channels, the victim's maternal grandmother Rajrani approached the police.
'Renu came back to us after a few months of her marriage and stayed with us after that. About 15 days ago, Renu left our house along with Tanu without informing anyone,' said Rajrani, who lives in the Gomtinagar district of Lucknow.
The victim's mother has also been missing since August 20 and the police are now searching for her.
Tanu has been variously reported to be aged five, or seven. She has now been discharged from hospital and sent home with her grandmother.