In Lakhimpur Kheri, six accused have been reported to be arrested hours after two dalit sisters were raped and hanged from a tree in the village. Meanwhile, one accused was reportedly shot in leg in an encounter. According to Lakhimpur Superintendent of Police Sanjeev Suman, the victims, aged 15 and 17, were lured to a nearby farm and raped by two of the accused. When the victims demanded that they marry them, the accused strangled them and hanged them from a tree.
The accused in the matter have been identified as Suhail, Junaid, Hafizul Rehman, Karimuddin, Arif and Chotu. It was Chotu who had allegedly introduced the victims to the men. During the investigation, the family of the victims had claimed that the two sisters were “abducted”. However, Superintendent of Police Sanjeev has refuted the allegations and said that the girl went to the men on their free will.
Earlier in the evening of September 14, a local spotted the bodies of the victims hanging from a tree in a field. As the news about the incident spread, enraged locals staged a protest and blocked the road to the village.
The incident is shockingly similar to the 2014 Badaun incident where two Dalit cousins were hanged from a tree after being gang raped.
The Facts of the Matter
Almost a decade after the 2014 Badaun incident, which shed the light on caste-related issues still prevalent in Uttar Pradesh, two minor Dalit sisters were found hanging from a tree in a village near Lakhimpur Kheri. Hours after the recovery of the victims’ bodies, the police arrested six men who allegedly committed the crime.
The Crime As It Happened
Two of the accused, Sohail and Junaid, had allegedly lured the girls into a sugarcane field and had raped them there. When the minor victims demanded that the men marry them, Sohail, Junaid, along with a third accused Hafizul, strangled the girls and tied their bodies to a tree.
All six accused have been identified as Arif, Chotu, Junaid, Sohail, Hafizul, Karimuddin, Arif. Allegedly, it was Chotu who had introduced the men to the two sisters as he was their neighbour.
Horrific case of Rape & Murder of UP Dalit sisters. Prompt action by @Uppolice is commendable and all those accused should be booked under charges of rape, murder, SC/ST Act as well as POSCO Act. #LakhimpurKheri @myogiadityanath #UttarPradesh #उत्तरप्रदेश #Dalit pic.twitter.com/Yh5vwILTvt
— Indian (भारतीय) (@SherSinghMina2) September 15, 2022
One Accused Shot in Leg
One of the accused was allegedly shot on his leg during an encounter. A case of assault, murder and rape under the POCSO Act 2022 has been registered against the accused.
Earlier on September 14, a local spotted the bodies of the Dalit sisters, aged 14 and 17, hanging from a tree in a nearby sugarcane field. The local immediately alerted other villagers and soon the news of the incident spread across the village.
लखीमपुर का हैवान जुनैद !! pic.twitter.com/MpTx0kCwcE
— Dr. Shalabh Mani Tripathi (@shalabhmani) September 15, 2022
Outraged Locals Block Road
Locals were left enraged and staged a protest by blocking the road and not letting preliminary investigators pass through. It was only after the intervention of senior cops, and their assurance of justice, that the locals freed the way.
As per Lakhimpur Kheri CO Subodh Kumar Jaiswal, the victims’ clothes were not damaged. Another police officer mentioned that except for injuries on necks, the sister victims’ bodies showed no injury mark. Post-mortems of the bodies of the victim will be conducted soon.
Family Claims Victims were “Abducted”
It should be noted that the victims’ family has alleged that their daughters were “abducted” from their house hours before their bodies were found. In an interview to media, the victims’ mother mentioned that three men “forcibly” took away her daughters on a two-wheeler. However, Superintendent of the Police Sanjeev Suman mentioned that the girls went to the accused on their free will.
Post-mortem Done Without Panchnama?
Meanwhile, opposition party leader Akhilesh Yadav took to Twitter and likened the incident to the Hathras rape incident.
“After kidnapping two Dalit sisters in Nighasan police station area, their murder and after that the father’s allegation on the police is very serious that their post-mortem was done without Panchnama and consent. After farmers in Lakhimpur, the killing of Dalits is now a heinous repetition of the ‘Hathras ki Beti’ massacre,” he tweeted.