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6 arrested in alleged gangrape, murder of 2 Dalit sisters in UP, girls found hanging from tree

The minor girls were lured to a farm and raped; cops said they were killed once they insisted on marriage.

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New Delhi: The minor girls were lured to a farm and raped; cops said they were killed once they insisted on marriage.

Six young men have been arrested for the alleged gangrape and murder of two minor Dalit girls in a village in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri district.

Their bodies were found hanging from a tree Wednesday evening, sparking much disquiet in the village and anger among political circles in the state and outside.

The accused have been identified as Chhotu, Junaid, Sohail, Hafizul, Karimuddin and Arif, Lakhimpur Kheri Superintendent of Police Sanjiv Suman told reporters on Thursday.

Suman said Junaid was arrested in an encounter during which he was shot in the leg.

The district chief said the accused were friends with the deceased sisters, aged 15 and 17. The girls were lured to a farm and raped by Sohail and Junaid on Wednesday, the officer said. “When they insisted on marriage, Sohail, Hafizul and Junaid strangled and killed them,” Suman said. “They then called Karimuddin and Arif and hanged the girls to eliminate proof,” he added.

The police said all boys, except Chhotu, were from Lalpur village in Lakhimpur Kheri. Chhotu was a neighbour of the girls’ family and introduced the girls to the other boys, they said. “He too has been arrested,” Sanjeev Suman told the media.

Officers said the postmortem of the girls would be conducted by a panel of three doctors. Suman said the case pertains to women and the weaker section of society. “We worked with speed and sensitivity. The accused have been booked under IPC Sections 302, 376 and also under the Protection Of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act,” the SP said.

On Wednesday evening, the bodies of the two minor sisters were found hanging from a tree in the Lalpur Majra Tamoli Purva village Lakhimpur Kheri district.

Villagers and the girls’ family marched and blocked a road demanding justice for the deceased.

The girls’ family told the police the minors were abducted three hours before they were found hanging. There were no visible injuries on their bodies, the police said.

The BJP-ruled state’s deputy chief minister K.P. Maurya said the incident was “sad and unfortunate”. “Harshest action will be taken against all criminals,” Maurya added.

He expected the Opposition – “whether Akhilesh Yadav, Priyanka Gandhi or Mayawati” – not to politicise the crime but to console the family. “But the rule of law has prevailed in Uttar Pradesh,” he added.

The other deputy chief minister, Brajesh Pathak, said: “The girls were strangled to death and then hanged with their own dupattas. The government will take such action that the souls of their coming generations will also shiver. Justice will be given and the legal proceedings will be bumped up to a fast-track court.”

Earlier, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had slammed the state government and said, “The incident of murder of two sisters in Lakhimpur (UP) is heart-wrenching. 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?”

Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav compared the horrific incident to that of the 2020 Hathras gangrape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit women who was violated by upper caste men.

Yadav tweeted: “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 postmortem without the family’s consent. After farmers in Lakhimpur, the killing of Dalits is now a repetition of the murder of ‘Hathras’ daughter’.”

Also read: SC issues UP government notice on Ashish Mishra’s bail plea in Lakhimpur Kheri case


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