In a heart-wrenching incident, two Dalit teenage sisters on Wednesday were found hanging from a tree in Lakhimpur Kheri district.
Six men were arrested on Thursday in connection with the rape and murder of two Dalit teenage sisters, police said.
The girls, aged 15 and 17, were found hanging from a tree in a sugarcane field about a kilometre from their house in the Nighasan police station area.
”We have arrested Junaid, Sohail, Hafizur Rehman, Karimuddin, Arif and Chottu in an overnight operation,” Lakhimpur Kheri Superintendent of Police (SP) Sanjiv Suman told reporters.
Junaid and Sohail were in a relationship with the two sisters, he said.
”According to preliminary investigation, the two sisters left their home on Wednesday afternoon after Junaid and Sohail persuaded them. Junaid and Sohail have confessed that they strangulated the girls after raping them,” the SP said.
The duo then called Karimuddin and Arif to dispose of their bodies. They later hanged the bodies from a tree to make it look like suicide, Suman said.
An FIR has been registered under sections 302 (murder), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 452 (house-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint), 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, he said.
A post-mortem examination is underway at the district hospital. Everything is being done with the consent of the girls’ family members, he said.
The girls’ mother had on Wednesday claimed that they were murdered.
Expressing her grief over the incident, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra slammed the state government and said, “The incident of murder of two sisters in Lakhimpur (UP) is heart-wrenching.
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav said in a tweet, “Murder of two Dalit sisters after kidnapping them in Nighasan police station area. Their father’s allegation on the police is very serious that they carried out ‘panchnama’ and post-mortem without the family’s consent. After farmers in Lakhimpur, the killing of Dalits is now a repetition of the murder of ‘Hathras’ daughter’.”
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati wrote that the “heartbreaking incident” from Lakhimpur was linked to the fact that “criminals in UP are fearless because the priorities of the government are wrong.”
The former chief minister said that the incident exposed the Adityanath government’s claims on reducing crime and maintaining law and order.
The relatives say that those girls were abducted in broad daylight. Giving false advertisements in newspapers and TV every day does not improve law and order. After all, why are heinous crimes against women increasing in UP?”
With agency inputs