6 arrested for raping, murdering Lakhimpur Kheri’s Dalit sisters

Six people were arrested on Thursday in connection with the alleged rape and murder of two Dalit teenage sisters, whose bodies of were found hanging from a tree in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri district on Wednesday, police said.

Lakhimpur Kheri police superintendent Sanjiv Suman said Junaid, Sohail, Hafizur Rehman, Karimuddin, Arif, and Chottu were arrested in an overnight operation. He added Junaid and Sohail were in a relationship with the sisters.

Suman cited preliminary investigation and said the two sisters left their home on Wednesday afternoon on the persuasion of Junaid and Sohail. “Junaid and Sohail have confessed that they strangulated the girls after raping them.”

The mother of the girls, aged 15 and 17, on Wednesday said three men from a neighbouring village abducted them on a bike. Around two hours later, their bodies were found tied with a scarf from a tree a kilometre away in a sugarcane field. Residents blocked a local highway and demanded the strictest action against the accused.

Suman and assistant police superintendent Arun Kumar Singh spoke to the protesting family members and residents and assured them of the strictest police action. Lucknow range inspector general of police Laxmi Singh also rushed to Lakhimpur Kheri.

A heavy police force was deployed in the area. Three minor girls were raped and murdered in the Lakhimpur Kheri between August and September 2020.

In a tweet, former chief minister Mayawati hit out at the Uttar Pradesh government saying criminals were fearless because its wrong priorities. “The incident exposes the claims of the government over law and order and women’s safety…” she tweeted in Hindi.

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