Indian police have revealed that two teenage girls were strangled to death and their bodies set up to look like a suicide after the girls had insisted on marriage after they were raped.
The bodies of the two Dalit minor sisters, aged nearly 14 and 17 years respectively, were found allegedly hanging from a tree outside a village in the Nighasan area of Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri district, police said on Wednesday September 14.
The mother of the girls said that her daughters were kidnapped by three bike-borne men at nearly 3 p.m. on Wednesday and were later found hanging from a tree in a cane field.
The girls’ family alleged that they were raped and murdered.
Addressing a press conference on the matter, police on Thursday, September 15 said the sisters insisted that since they had been violated, the men marry them.
“The men took advantage of the fact that they were friendly with the girls and raped them. As the girls then started saying they would have to marry them, the men got angry and strangled them with their dupattas. They later called two of their friends, who helped them hang the girls so that it looked like a suicide,” said Superintendent of Police (SP) Sanjeev Suman.
The accused have been identified as Chotu, Junaid, Sohail, Arif, Hafiz and Karimuddin.
All of them are being interrogated.
Police say the main accused Chotu had allegedly introduced the girls to three others but was not at the scene of the crime.
The three, who carried out the crime, and the two, who helped them in a coverup attempt, are from another village close to the girls, he said.
The police said that one of the men was caught on Wednesday morning, during an encounter with the police, who shot him in the leg. He had been identified on Wednesday, police said.
All six have been booked for murder and rape, under the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
Speaking to the media, the police said that the girls from Lakhimpur Kheri
were ‘not forcibly abducted’ as they knew the men who raped them.
He also said that the post-mortem examination is being conducted by a panel of three doctors.
“It will be videographed, and some members of the victims’ family will be inside as they wanted to be sure. We will do everything that the family wants. That is important, we understand,” he said.