NEW DELHI – A police officer and two other people have been arrested after two teenage girls were gang-raped and left hanging from the branches of a mango tree in a northern Indian village, authorities said today.
The shocking attack on the girls – two cousins aged 14 and 16 – sparked outrage in the village of Katra Sadatganj and beyond.
Angry villagers protested around the bodies, preventing police from taking them down from the tree for about 15 hours Wednesday, the day after the attack, said Mukesh Saxena, a local police official.
A photo from the village, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, showed the body of one girl, dressed in a green tunic and pants, hanging from the tree. A large group of people, many of them young children, were gathered around the grisly scene.
Police said an autopsy confirmed the girls had been raped and strangled. The cremation of their remains took place late Wednesday night in line with Hindu customs, Saxena said.
Armed police officers have been deployed in the village to prevent any further unrest, he added.
The girls’ families accused three brothers of carrying out the rape and killing. Two of the brothers are now in custody, said R.K.S. Rathore, a deputy-inspector general of police. One was arrested Thursday night, he said.
Police are still searching for the third brother.
The families of the victims have accused local police of initially failing to respond and siding with the suspects when the parents went to report the case. The allegations have fueled anger among the villagers.
Saxena said three police officers have been temporarily suspended for negligence of duty, and one has been arrested.
He said the girls had gone out into the orchard to relieve themselves Tuesday night when they were grabbed by the attackers.
Some people saw the abduction but were unable to stop it, he said, citing eyewitnesses. (CNN)