On Wednesday, 14 September, the dead bodies of two minor sisters 15 and 17 years old, belonging to the scheduled caste community, were found hanging on a tree in Lalpur Majra Tamoli Purva village under the Nighasan police station of Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar pradesh.
The family of the deceased has alleged that the girls were abducted, raped, and then murdered. Locals and relatives of the victims also blocked the Nighasan road by keeping the dead bodies and demanded a thorough probe into the matter.
Lucknow range inspector general (IG) of police Laxmi Singh and Lakhimpur Kheri superintendent of police (SP) Sanjiv Suman, reached the protest site to assure villagers that strict action will be taken against the accused. Also an FIR is registered for the case.
UP ADG (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar said the police team has reached the spot to establish the sequence of events. He said “Bodies of two sisters were found hanging on a tree at some distance from their house in Lakhimpur. The bodies were sent for post-mortem. Videography of post-mortem is being done. A case will be registered on the basis of the complaint received from their family. Every aspect will be examined,”.
The mother of the girls told media reporters that she suspected her daughters were murdered. She alleged that three youngsters of the neighbouring village on a bike abducted the two girls from near a hutment while the two sisters were cutting fodder.
She said “I was bathing inside the hutment when three youths of the neighbouring village arrived, one in a yellow T-shirt, another in a white one and the third in a blue T-shirt.”
After the incident, the family mounted a search for the girls. The bodies were later found by villagers. Two hours after their kidnapping, the bodies of the minor girls were found hanging from a tree in a sugarcane field, said Sanjiv Suman, SP, Lakhimpur Kheri.
Commenting on the incident, Additional SP Arun Kumar Singh confirmed four accused in the matter have been taken into custody. He said, “Four accused in the matter have been taken into custody. Interrogation is underway,”.
Superintendent of Police Sanjiv Suman and Assistant Superintendent of Police Arun Kumar Singh talked to the irate villagers in a bid to console them, while heavy police force was deployed in the village to ensure law and order.
The incident has heated the criticism of the UP government. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav launched an attack on the Yogi Adityanath-led government in the state.
He tweeted, “Truth of UP CM who made hollow claims about women’s safety! The bodies of two minor Dalit sisters were found hanging from a tree in Lakhimpur Kheri. In the Yogi Government, goons are harassing mothers and sisters every day, which is very shameful! The government should get the matter investigated, the culprits should get the harshest punishment.”
He added, “After the abduction and murder of two Dalit sisters in the Nighasan police station area, their father’s serious allegation against the police 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,”
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra slammed the BJP government in UP and tweeted, “The killings of two sisters in Lakhimpur (UP) is heart-wrenching. The relatives say that the girls were abducted in broad daylight. Giving false advertisements in newspapers and television every day does not improve law and order. After all, why are heinous crimes against women increasing in Uttar Pradesh? When will the government wake up?”.
Mamata Bannerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC) also stepped up an attack on the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh and said, “Shocking! In UP, two sisters were found hanging from a tree. Under the watch of CM Yogi Adityanath, UP is turning into a crime capital and the deafening silence of the administration and the police has forced people to come on the road to fight against the Jungle Raj.”
The incident is a grim reminder of Budaun incident when bodies of two Dalit sisters were found hanging from a tree in a village in 2014. Later, the allegations of gang rape and murder of two teenage girls was investigated by Central Bureau of Investigation.
However, Lakhimpur Kheri district has witnessed similar incidents of crime against women in the past. Three minor girls were raped and murdered in different parts of the district between August 14 and September 3, 2020.
The deaths had sparked global outrage, re-igniting a debate in India on the safety of its women.