Six men were on Friday, arrested in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh for allegedly raping and killing two teenage sisters before hanging their bodies on a tree.
The district police said the two sisters who were 15 and 17 respectively, were from the Dalit community, regarded as the lowest rung of India’s “rigid caste” hierarchy, and were found hanging from a tree in a sugarcane field near their house in Lakhimpur Kheri district.
According to police superintendent Sanjiv Suman, initial investigation showed that the sisters reportedly left their home on Wednesday and met with two of the arrested men with whom they may have had a relationship.
“The two men confessed to strangling the sisters after raping them, and then called two others to help get rid of the bodies,” Suman said.
“They later hung the bodies from a tree in an attempt to pass their deaths off as suicides. Two other men were also arrested in connection with the incident,” he added.
The police spokesman said the men will be charged with suspected murder, assault, rape and rape of a minor while a postmortem examination has been carried out at a hospital and the bodies have been handed over to the family for last rites.
A local media reported that the incident has sparked anger in the village, with the residents holding a demonstration after the bodies were found.
“Police have been deployed across the village to maintain law and order,” the report said.
“The incident also sparked outrage on social media, where opposition politicians attacked the state government and chief minister, who belongs to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bhartiya Janata Party,” it added.
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