[QODLink]
Central & South Asia

Indian girls found hanging after gang-rape

Three arrested, including one policeman, after two teenage Dalit sisters found dead in Uttar Pradesh state.

Last updated: 30 May 2014 08:55
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Two teenage girls have been found dead, hanging from a tree in a northern Indian village after they were gang-raped by five men, police said on Thursday.

A post-mortem report indicated that the sisters, previously reported to have been cousins, from the low-caste Dalit community, aged 14 and 15, hanged themselves late on Tuesday after the attack in a village in the Budaun district of Uttar Pradesh state.

"The report suggests ante-mortem hanging, which means the girls probably committed suicide. But we will take into account all aspects before coming to a conclusion," Atul Saxena, Budaun's police chief, told the AFP news agency.

Police have arrested three people, including one police officer, the AP news agency reported. 

Authorities are looking for two more suspects, including one constable involved. 

In total, "five persons have been named", Superintendent of Police Maan Singh Chouhan told reporters.

The two Dalit girls were found hanging from a tree on Wednesday morning in their village after they went missing the night before, according to Saxena.

India gang-rape: Progress one year on?

He said the arrests were made after villagers blocked the main highway near Katra village to protest against alleged police apathy and inaction. Senior Uttar Pradesh government officials ordered the arrests.

Saxena said that the head of Katra's police station had been suspended for not acting immediately when the girls' family complained they were missing.

The National Commission for Women, a women's rights group that operates throughout the country, has reportedly sent a team to investigate the incident, according to local media.

 As Al Jazeera previously reported, cases involving rape and violence of Dalit community members are often ignored by authorities because of their "untouchable" caste status in Indian society. Mostly landless labourers, Dalits face discrimination and absolute poverty. 

On Friday, Amnesty International released a statement calling on authorities to thoroughly investigate gang-rape and murder of Dalit girls.

“Despite the existence of constitutional safeguards and special laws, Dalits across India – and Dalit women in particular - face multiple levels of discrimination and violence,” said Divya Iyer, Senior Researcher at Amnesty International India.

India tightened its anti-rape laws last year after nationwide protests over a crime considered rampant in the country.

Records show a rape is committed every 22 minutes across the country of 1.2 billion people, though activists say that number is low because many victims are reluctant to come forward.

514

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.