A seven-person special investigation team (SIT) was established by the Uttar Pradesh Police on Friday to look into the rape and murder of two Dalit girls, ages 15 and 17, in the Lakhimpur Kheri district. The sisters’ bodies were found hanging from a tree on Wednesday and a post-mortem examination subsequently indicated that they had been raped and strangled to death.
According to Lakhimpur Kheri SP Sanjiv Suman, the SIT was established to expedite the investigation. It will be run by Sanjay Nath Tiwari, the circle officer for Nighashan and include a woman as well as two inspectors and three sub-inspectors.
In the case, six persons have been detained so far, and one was apprehended following an encounter with police. Chhotu Gautam, a resident of the area, and five other males named Junaid, Sohail, Hafeezul Rehman, Karimudeen, and Adi, all residents of a nearby hamlet, are among those detained.
Suman said that Junaid and Sohail had admitted to raping the girls before strangling them. The SP added that on Wednesday, Gautam worked as a middleman to assist Junaid, Sohail, and Rehman enter the sisters’ home. They befriended the girls and lured them to a nearby sugarcane field where they allegedly raped them. When the sisters demanded the men marry them, they killed them and used their dupatta to hang them from a tree.
After being presented before a POCSO court on Thursday, the six defendants were sentenced to 14 days in judicial detention.
Suman added that the UP Police is considering using the severe National Security Act (NSA) on the six men. As per the Act, persons may be held without charge for up to a year. He also revealed that none of the accused are minors, disproving claims made by some of their relatives.