Police in India are hunting a gang of men who raped and killed two teenage girls, before hanging their bodies from a tree. The horrendous attack, in the village of Karta in the Uttar Pradesh region, is said to have happened on Tuesday night after the two cousins, aged 14 and 15, went missing from their homes.
NDTV reports the girls – from the low-caste Dalit community previously known as the “untouchables” – disappeared after stepping out to go to toilet in the bush as they had none at home, prompting their families to search through the night. Their bodies were found at dawn, hanging from
trees in an orchard, and post mortem examinations confirmed they had been raped before their deaths.
The girls’ families allege five men from the village are responsible for the brutal attack, with one arrest made. But the families also claim police refused to investigate the girls’ disappearance or help with the search for hours after they were reported missing.
Angry villagers blocked a road in protest at the “alleged police apathy”, and a case of conspiracy has been filed against two local policemen after they were accused of ignoring the families’ requests for help, and protected some of the men responsible. The officers have been suspended while the allegations are investigated.
The case will bring back memories in India of the brutal gang-rape of a student on a Delhi bus in December 2012. The 23-year-old died from horrendous injuries sustained during the attack, and her death prompted an overhaul of legislation on sex crimes, as well as calls for changes in attitudes to women. Records show a rape is committed every 22 minutes in India, a nation of 1.2 billion people.