Unnao: The autopsy of the two Dalit teenagers found dead in Unnao Wednesday revealed no external injury, Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police (DGP) H.C. Awasthi said Thursday evening.
The two girls, Awasthi told the media, are suspected to have died of poisoning. “No external injuries were found on the bodies of the girls. The cause of death has not been ascertained. The viscera has been preserved for chemical analysis,” he said.
Two girls of Unnao’s Baburaha village, approximately 60 km from state capital Lucknow, were found dead in their family’s field Wednesday evening. Both were cousins. A third cousin was found in a critical condition nearby.
She is currently being treated for suspected poisoning at a Kanpur hospital, Unnao Superintendent of Police (SP) Sureshrao Anand Kulkarni told ThePrint.
The three girls are aged between 13 and 17 years.
Police in Unnao Thursday registered a murder case in the matter based on a complaint filed by the father of one of the girls. The FIR, accessed by ThePrint, invokes sections 302 (murder) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence) of the IPC.
In his statement, attached to the FIR, the father said they had found scarves on the girls’ neck, and the teenagers “had dried foam around their mouths” — a common symptom of poisoning.
“We did not have any enmity with anyone but we want a police investigation in it,” he added.
Kulkarni said they are investigating if the girls died of poisoning, and, if they did, who administered the poison. He said reports that the girls had been found with their hands tied were rumours. “There were no injuries, no blood. Everything was a rumour,” he added.
Funeral on Friday
Speaking to ThePrint earlier in the day, the family of the girls said they sensed something was amiss when they failed to return after venturing out in the afternoon to collect fodder.
When they did not return till 6 pm, the family went to look for them, said Bitoula, the mother of one of the girls.
“We called out their names in the field but no one answered. Later, we found them in our own field,” she added. “We can’t accuse anyone as we did not have any enmity with anyone.”
Baburaha has five Dalit families but residents say members of different castes live in unity here.
Discussing the poisoning angle, sources in Unnao Police said no bottles or empty strips were found near the bodies.
“We will be asking the family members if they suspect someone who could have administered poison. The locals in the area, friends of the girls, will also be questioned,” a source added.
There was some confusion in Baburaha Thursday when the bodies were brought back after the autopsy, amid fears in the family that they would be forced to conduct the funeral right away. However, a team of police personnel, including the SP, assured them that the last rites would be conducted when the family wants to.
Unnao SP Kulkarni told ThePrint later that the funeral of the two girls will be held Friday, “as the family is waiting for some relatives to come”. The condition of the third girl, he added, is serious.
The case also stirred up a controversy on social media Thursday as a video purportedly showed the father of one of the girls being picked up and taken away.
उन्नाव की पीड़िता के पिता को जबरन उठाकर ले जा रही अजय सिंह बिष्ट की कठपुतली पुलिस।
— All India Mahila Congress (@MahilaCongress) February 18, 2021
The video went viral, with many — including the Congress’ women’s wing — claiming that Uttar Pradesh Police had picked up the family of the victims and taken them to an undisclosed location.
However, Surajpal — the father — told the media that he was feeling unwell and was about to faint and that’s why his nephew took him away. He denied allegations that police manhandled him.
With inputs from Ananya Bhardwaj
This report has been updated with additional information