India gang-rape: Police officers accused after low-caste teenage girls are attacked, killed and hung from a tree

Families of the girls said the police were shielding the attackers and had refused to investigate the case when they reported that the teenagers had disappeared

Delhi

India is reeling after it was revealed two low-caste teenage girls were gang-raped and murdered and their bodies left hanging from a tree. It has been alleged two police officers refused to investigate the incident after the girls’ families reported them missing.

Officers in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh say the two cousins were attacked by five men, who killed them and then hanged their bodies from mango trees early on Wednesday morning. The girls were aged 14 and 15.

In the aftermath of the assault, the relatives of the two girls refused to allow police to collect the bodies from where they were left and blocked a nearby road by means of protest. Television channels showed the bodies slowly swinging while the villagers sat beneath them. Eventually, officers recovered the corpses and they were sent for post-mortem examination.

“We have registered a case under various sections, including that of rape, and one of the accused has been taken into custody. There were five people involved, one has been arrested and we are looking for the others,” said Man Singh Chouhan, a senior police officer.

The Reuters news agency said Mr Chouhan had confirmed that two constables had been charged with conspiracy and that they had been suspended. The families of the girls said the police were shielding the attackers and had refused to investigate the case when they reported that the teenagers had disappeared.

It appears the attack happened after the two girls had gone to the fields early on Wednesday morning as they – like hundreds of million of Indians – had no lavatory in their home.

Reports said the two girls were members of the Dalit community, previously called untouchables, and which has traditionally stood at the very bottom of the Hindu caste system. Campaigners say Dalits are often the victims of sexual attacks and rapes and that often police are slow to respond.

Beena Pallical of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, said members of the community suffered in many ways when attacks like this took place. Firstly there was assault itself and then there was often the unwillingness of the authorities to investigate the matter.

“This is a never ending circle. The violence keeps coming no matter what we do,” she said. “Every institution in this country is biased, so where do we go?”

The attack on the two girls has also highlighted another major problem confronted every day by millions of Indians – an absence of sanitation. India notoriously has more cell phones than lavatories and during the country’s recent election campaign, now Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the building of toilets should come before the construction of more temples.

The international charity Water Aid said around 300 million women and girls in India were still obliged to practise open defecation, exposing them to risk of harassment and assault. Lower caste women were especially at risk, it said.

“This vicious, horrifying attack illustrates too vividly the risks that girls and women take when they don’t have a safe, private place to relieve themselves,” said the charity’s Barbara Frost. “Ending open defecation is an urgent priority that needs to be addressed, for the benefit of women and girls who live in poverty and without access to privacy and a decent toilet.”

The alleged incident, which took place in the Badaun district of Uttar Pradesh, around 140 miles east of Delhi, follows the December 2012 assault upon a Delhi student who was raped and killed after boarding a bus.

In the aftermath of the attack on the 23-year-old, the government toughened the laws relating to sexual assaults and introduced fast-track courts to deal with offenders. Four men and a juvenile were convicted of the attack.

News
Pro-Russia rebels guard a train containing the bodies of victims of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 crash in Torez, Ukraine
i100
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Struggling actors who scrape a living working in repertory theatres should get paid a 'living wage', Sir Ian McKellen has claimed
theatre
News
Skye McCole Bartusiak's mother said she didn't use drink or drugs
peopleActress was known for role in Mel Gibson film The Patriot
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Damon Albarn is starting work on a new West End musical
artsStar's 'leftfield experimental opera' is turning mainstream
Life and Style
Paul and his father
artsPaul Carter wants to play his own father in the film of his memoirs
Sport
Ben Stokes trudges off after his latest batting failure for England as Ishant Sharma celebrates one of his seven wickets
cricket
Arts and Entertainment
Members of the public are invited to submit their 'sexcapades' to Russell T Davies' new series Tofu
tv
News
Sky's Colin Brazier rummages through an MH17 victim's belongings live on air
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game
arts + ents'The Imitation Game' stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley
Extras
indybest
News
i100... and no one notices
Arts and Entertainment
Friends reunited: Julian Ovenden, Richard Cant and Matt Bardock in rehearsals for the Donmar revival of 'My Night
with Reg'
theatrePoignancy of Kevin Elyot's play being revived just after his death
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 5/6 Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: The successful applicant w...

Year 5/6 Teacher

£21000 - £35000 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: The JobThe successful ...

Business Analyst (Systems/ Incident Analyst)

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Business Analyst r...

SAP GRC Architect / Consultant

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I am currently looking for a PERMANENT S...

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor