Lakhimpur Kheri (Uttar Pradesh): Two Dalit sisters, 17 and 15, were raped, murdered and then hung from a tree in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur by five men, the police said today, as a village seethed with rage at the horrific crime and what they called “insensitive handling” by cops.
All six involved in the double murder have been arrested and one of them was caught in an encounter this morning, the police said. The accused are Suhail, Junaid, Hafizul Rehman, Karimuddin and Arif. A sixth man, Chhotu, a neighbour of the girls who allegedly introduced them to these men, has also been arrested.
The autopsy has confirmed the girls were raped and strangled. Yesterday, the girls were taken to a sugarcane field and raped by Suhail and Junaid, district police chief Sanjeev Suman told reporters. The others helped the two get rid of the evidence.
The sisters went willingly with Suhail and Junaid in their bikes, the police said, adding that they were “friends” with the two men from a neighbouring village. The girls’ family has disputed this version and has alleged that the girls were kidnapped.
“The girls were raped in the fields. When they insisted that the men marry them, the men strangled them with their dupattas. Then the men called Karimuddin and Arif for help with covering up the crime. They hung the bodies from the tree to make it look like suicide,” the officer said.
The girls’ mother had told the police that they were abducted three hours before they were found dead. Three young men forcibly took away her daughters in motorcycles, she had alleged.
The family later found their bodies hanging from the tree near the sugarcane field. The girls were found hanging by their own dupattas and there are no visible injuries.
The police faced protests by angry villagers, who blocked their way when they went to the girls’ home to take the bodies for a post-mortem. In a video, Sanjeev Suman is heard asking the protesters to stop blocking the road.
The officer denied the villagers’ allegation of insensitivity. “There are 1,000 cameras at the spot. We are dealing with the case with utmost sensitivity. We dealt with it peacefully. The family has no issues with us,” officer Sanjeev Suman said.
The incident has brought back the horrifying memories of the 2014 incident in Badaun, when the bodies of two cousins were found hanging from a tree.
The opposition has attacked the Yogi Adityanath government over law and order in Uttar Pradesh.