UP police on Thursday arrested six accused a day after the bodies of two minor Dalit sisters were found hanging from a tree in Lakhimpur Kheri.
The six accused—Junaid, Sohail, Hafizul, Karimuddin, Arif and Chotu—have been charged under sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).
Lakhimpur Kheri SP Sanjeev Suman said that Junaid was nabbed in an encounter where he was shot in his leg. He added that the girls were lured to a farm and allegedly raped by Sohail and Junaid. “After the girls forced the accused to marry them, Sohail, Hafizul and Junaid strangulated and killed them. They then called Karimuddin and Arif, and hanged the girls to eliminate proof,” Suman told media on Thursday.
“All of the accused, other than Chotu, hailed from Lalpur village in Lakhimpur Kheri,” the SP said, adding that Chotu, who was the victims’ neighbour, introduced the two girls to the accused. Post-mortems of the bodies will be conducted in the next few hours.
Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Brajesh Pathak said that justice will delivered and that the case will be taken up in a fast-track court.
As soon as the news broke on Wednesday, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra attacked the Uttar Pradesh government over "increasing" crimes against women in the state and compared the twin deaths with the Hathras gang-rape and murder. Comparing Wednesday's case to the Hathras incident, SP president Akhilesh Yadav said in a tweet, "Murder of two Dalit sisters after kidnapping them in Nighasan police station area. Their father's allegation on the police is very serious that they carried out 'panchnama' and post-mortem without the family's consent. After farmers in Lakhimpur, the killing of Dalits is now a repetition of the murder of 'Hathras' daughter'."