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UP Dalit sisters found hanging from tree were raped and killed, 6 arrested

Lakhimpur Kheri (Uttar Pradesh): Two Dalit sisters, 17 and 15, were raped, murdered and then hung from a tree in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur by five men, the police said today, as a village seethed with rage at the horrific crime and what they called “insensitive handling” by cops.

Those arrested for the horrific murders are Suhail, Junaid, Hafizul Rehman, Karimuddin and Arif. A sixth man, Chhotu, a neighbour of the girls who allegedly introduced them to these men, has also been arrested.

The girls were taken to a sugarcane field and raped by Suhail and Junaid, district police chief Sanjeev Suman told reporters.

“When the girls insisted on marriage, the men strangled them with their dupatta. Then Karimuddin and Arif came to the spot and helped in the cover-up. They hung the bodies from the tree to make it look like suicide,” the officer said.

The girls were not kidnapped but went willingly with the men in their bikes, the police said. The sisters were allegedly friends with Suhail and Junaid.

All the arrested men are from a neighbouring village. Five were arrested yesterday and one was caught this morning in an encounter. “We have arrested each and everyone involved in the crime,” officer Sanjeev Suman asserted.

The girls’ mother had told the police that they were abducted three hours before they were found dead. Three young men forcibly took away her daughters in motorcycles, she had alleged.

The family later found their bodies hanging from the tree near the sugarcane field.

The girls were found hanging by their own dupattas and there are no visible injuries.

The police faced protests by angry villagers when they went to the girls’ home to take the bodies for post-mortem. In a video, Sanjeev Suman is heard asking the protesters to stop blocking the road.

The incident has brought back the horrifying memories of the 2014 incident in Badaun, when the bodies of two cousins were found hanging from a tree. The opposition has attacked the Yogi Adityanath government over law and order in Uttar Pradesh.