Indian police have arrested one man and are looking for four
other suspects after two teenage girls were gang-raped and
then hanged from a tree in a village in the northern state of
The two cousins, who were from a low-caste Dalit community
and aged 14 and 15, went missing from their village home in
Uttar Pradesh's Budaun district when they went out to go to
the toilet on Tuesday evening (local time).
The following morning, villagers found the bodies of the two
teenagers hanging from a mango tree in a nearby orchard.
"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," Budaun's
Superintendent of Police Man Singh Chouhan told reporters.
Chouhan said a post-mortem confirmed the two minors were
raped and died from the hanging. DNA samples have been also
been taken to help identity the perpetrators, he added.
The victim's families say the girls were gang-raped and then
hanged by five men from the village. They allege that local
police were shielding the attackers as they refused to take
action when the girls were first reported missing.
It was only after angry villagers found the hanging corpses
and took the bodies to a nearby highway and blocked it in
protest, say the families, that police registered a case of
rape and murder.
A case of conspiracy has also been registered against two
constables, said Chouhan, adding that they had also been
Sex crimes against young girls and women are widespread in
India, say activists, adding that females from poor,
marginalised, low-caste communities are often the victims.
A report by the Asian Centre for Human Rights in April last
year said 48,338 child rape cases were recorded in India from
2001 to 2011, and the annual number of reported cases had
risen more than fourfold - 336 percent - over that period.
Women's rights experts and lawyers say rape victims also have
to endure harsh treatment from an archaic, poorly funded and
insensitive criminal justice system.
Police often try to dissuade victims from complaining and
suggest a "compromise" between the victim and the
perpetrator, largely because of their insensitivity to sex
crimes, but also because police officials are rarely held
Public outrage over the fatal gang rape of a woman in New
Delhi in December 2012 pushed the government into passing a
tougher new law to punish sex crimes. This includes sentences
of up to two years' jail for police and hospital authorities
if they fail to register a complaint or treat a victim.