The family of the two minor Dalit sisters raped and murdered in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri has sought ‘further investigation’ into the case. They have also questioned the police’s claim that the girls, aged 15 and 17, had been friends with the men who carried out the crime.
NDTV quoted the victims’ brother saying, “The cops should give us more proof. In a village, families come to know who’s friends with whom.”
“Our mother identifies three of the men. But we don’t know who the rest are. Police should be given us more information,” he told the outlet.
The girls’ brother was one of the family members who was allowed to be present at the post-mortem examination.
One of the six men arrested is from the girls’ neighbourhood, while the other five are from a nearby village. During a press briefing earlier in the day, police claimed that the girls were ‘not forcibly taken or abducted’ but had gone with three of them on motorbikes.
Superintendent of Police Sanjeev Suman said, “These men later forced themselves on them in a field, raping them. When the girls said they’d have to marry them, the men got angry and strangled them with their dupattas.”
As per the police, two of their friends helped them hang the girls so that it looks like a suicide.
However, the girls’ mother had told the police that they were kidnapped three hours before they were found dead. She alleged, “Three young men forcibly took them away on motorbikes.”
UP’s BJP-led government is faced with stinging questions as it had earlier promised ‘such punishment that the souls of the coming generations of the culprits will shiver’. Deputy CM Brajesh Prathak said this while further announcing the trial will be held in a fast-track court.
Opposition party leaders are seeing the crime as a reflection of ‘how law and order has collapsed’ in the BJP’s Yogi Adityanath’s administration. Taking to Twitter, BSP leader Mayawati wrote, “Criminals are fearless because this government’s priorities are wrong.”
Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav called the incident as a repeat of 2020’s Hathras case, in which a Dalit girl was raped and murdered.