LUCKNOW: Cracking the alleged rape and double murder case of two minor sisters belonging to scheduled caste (SC) under Nighasan police station area of Lakhimpur Kheri, the district police arrested six accused early Thursday morning.
However, the autopsy carried out by a panel of three doctors in the presence of the victims’ family, confirmed the rape of both the minor sisters, said the police sources.
The sisters were found hanging from a tree in village Tamolinpurwa in Nighasan area of Kheri late on Wednesday evening.
While addressing the media persons, Lakhimpur Kheri SP Sanjiv Suman said that one local villager, identified as Chhotu Gautam, and five youths, including Junaid, Sohail, Hafezul Rehman, Karimudeen and Arif, of neighbouring Lalpur village were arrested in the case.
The cop said that Zunaid and Sohail had admitted to the rape and murder of the two girls during the primary interrogation.
Narrating the sequence of the incident, the police official said that as per the primary interrogation of the accused, Sohail and Zunaid raped and murdered the girls while Chhotu acted as the facilitator who introduced the girls to Sohail and Zunaid. The police added the girls were in a relationship with Junaid and Sohail.
The remaining three accused - Hafeezul Rehaman, Kareemuddin and Arif - helped the other two in hanging the bodies from the tree with the help of the girls’ dupatta to project it as a case of suicide.
The SP claimed that Junaid was arrested after being shot in the right leg in retaliatory firing during a police encounter.
The Lakhimpur SP said that the primary investigation had pointed to the fact that Sohail and Zunaid lured the girls and took them to a field and raped them.
The girls demanded both to marry them, but the accused refused. When both the girls stressed their demand for marriage, the accused killed them by strangling them with their dupattas (scarves). They later called Hafeezul Rehaman, Kareemuddin and Arif who helped the duo in hanging the girls’ bodies from the tree.
According to Lakhimpur Kheri Additional SP Arun Kumar Singh, an FIR was lodged against Chhotu, and three unidentified youths past Wednesday midnight at around 1 am on the basis of the complaint received by the victims’ family. The accused were booked under Indian Penal Code sections 302 (for murder), 323 (for voluntarily causing hurt), 452 (for criminal house trespass) and 376 (for rape) along with Sections 3 and 4 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
The FIR was lodged as per the sequence of incidents told by the girls' mother and allegations levelled by her, said Singh.
On the contrary, the local villagers and the girls’ family accused three men of kidnapping and murder of the two minor girls. They even staged a demonstration at the Nighasan crossing, a few kilometres from the village.
The victims’ mother Maya Devi alleged that three youths of the neighbouring village kidnapped the girls on a bike from near a hutment while the two sisters were cutting fodder. The family claimed that they spotted the bodies of the two girls hanging from the tree after 30-40 minutes after the kidnapping.