The main accused, Chhotu Gautam, has confessed that he wanted to marry one of the girls but when she refused, he and his friends, kidnapped the girls, raped and murdered them before hanging their bodies on the tree.
LAKHIMPUR KHERI — The two sisters, who were murdered after being raped here on Wednesday, were strangled to death by the accused because they insisted that since they had been violated, the men marry them, police said on Thursday.
“The men took advantage of the fact that they were friendly with the girls and raped them. As the girls then started saying they would have to marry them, the men got angry and strangled them with their dupattas. They later called two of their friends, who helped them hang the girls so that it looked like a suicide,” said Superintendent of Police (SP) Sanjeev Suman.
The main accused Chhotu Gautam had allegedly introduced the girls to three others but was not at the scene of crime. The three, who carried out the crime, and the two, who helped them in a coverup attempt, are from another village close to the girls, he said.
The SP said that one of the men was caught this morning in an encounter with the police, who shot him in the leg. He had been identified on Wednesday, police said.
Later, all six have been arrested for murder and rape, besides under the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
The main accused, Chhotu, has confessed that he wanted to marry one of the girls but when she refused, he and his friends, kidnapped the girls, raped and murdered them before hanging their bodies on the tree.
The mother of the victims, however, said that the girls had been kidnapped from their home by miscreants on a motorcycle on Wednesday. She said, “A few hours later, we found them hanging from a tree near the village.” The mother said that the police had forcibly taken away the bodies for post-mortem examinations.
District Superintendent of Police Sanjeev Suman said that the sisters, aged 15 and 17, knew some of the accused and had “voluntarily” gone with one of their friends on Wednesday. He refuted their family’s claims that the sisters had been kidnapped.
“The sisters had gone with Chotu, one of the accused, voluntarily… they knew some of them,” he said.
The post-mortem report of the two minor Dalit sisters has confirmed rape and then strangulation which caused the death.
The report said that the bodies were hanged on the tree after their death.
SP Lakhimpur Kheri Sanjeev Suman said that after the post-mortem and other formalities, the bodies have been handed over to the family. Cremation would take place under security later in the day.
Security has also been beefed up in the district to prevent demonstrations and protests in the area.
The accused have been identified as Chotu, Junaid, Sohail, Arif, Hafiz and Karimuddin. All of them are being interrogated.
The angry villagers reportedly blocked a busy road to protest against the unfortunate incident. Meanwhile, Opposition leaders reacted sharply over the incident and slammed the BJP government for the rising crime against the women.
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted:
“We cannot expect those who release rapists and honour them to ensure the protection of women.”
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said, “The law and order situation does not become good simply by putting up advertisements in the newspapers and TV.”
Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav also condemned the incident saying it exposed the hollow claims of the BJP government on women’s safety in the state. — IANS (Inputs added)
Cover photo: File photo used for illustrative purposes only.