PATNA: A 15-year-old Mahadalit girl student of a government-run residential school for the SC community in Bihar was allegedly murdered after rape in her hostel, sparking massive protests by locals who blamed utter negligence by the authorities.

Before police could reach the premises of Ambedkar Government Girls High School at Dighi Mazirabad in Vaishali district on Monday, a large crowd of angry villagers had damaged school property and several vehicles by pelting stones. Police had a hard time pacifying villagers demanding action against senior officials of the district social welfare department.

The body of Dika Kumari, a student of class X, was found lying in a pool of blood close to a drain near the main gate of the school-cum-hostel campus on Sunday. Kumari, who hails from a poor Dalit family, had been studying at this residential school for the past ten years along with her two cousin sisters. She had been staying in the fourth floor of the hostel.

“She seems to have been brutally murdered after being raped. She had recently told me that men from outside had been entering the hostel in the nights and harassing girls,” said her grieving mother, Kusuma Devi.

Vaishali district magistrate Rachna Patil and SP Rakesh Kumar, who visited the school and hostel after the girl’s mysterious death, were shocked to find tunnels at two places under the boundary wall that were allegedly used by men from outside to enter the hostels at night. It is believed that Dika Kumari was raped and murdered by one or more men who entered the hostel on Saturday night.

“Since there is no facility for clean drinking water in the hostel, we girls often have to go out of the campus to get water from nearby hand-pumps. This is one of the reasons why a main gate of the campus remains open at all hours,” said a classmate of the dead girl. Besides, the hostels drown in darkness during power outages almost every night as there are no generators here, said other girls.

The district administration placed a hostel warden and a security guard under suspension for dereliction of duty. Local villagers are demanding the suspension of the school principal and the district social welfare officer.

“A medical board has been formed to carry out post mortem and ascertain the cause of death. Circumstances that led to this unfortunate incident are currently being probed,” said Vaishali SP Rakesh Kumar.