Five Accused Sent to 14-day Judicial Custody in Rape, Murder Case

Five accused in the Lakhimpur Dalit sisters rape and murder case have been sent to 14-day judicial custody. The police identified the six accused as Chotu, Junaid, Suhail, Hafizul Rehman, Karimuddin and Arif. Of the six, Junaid, who was injured in the encounter, will be presented in the court later.

Six men were arrested on Thursday in connection with the rape and murder of two teenage Dalit sisters who were found hanging from a tree in a sugarcane field in the Lakhimpur Kheri area in Uttar Pradesh.

Police said the post-mortem report revealed that the girls, aged 15 and 17, were raped and then strangled. The bodies were found hanging about a kilometre away from their home on Wednesday. For several hours their family members had refused to carry out the last rites, demanding compensation and the “death sentence” to the six accused.

The girls’ burial took place in a field near their home as their community buries the dead rather than carrying out the cremation if they are children.

While the Opposition slammed the ruling BJP government over the gruesome incident, the Trinamool Congress on Thursday wondered whether the National Commission for Women (NCW) would take any step in this case as it happened in a BJP-ruled state.

“Every day, horrible atrocities against Dalit women are reported in BJP-ruled states. Failure to take cognizance of those cases by the National Commission for Women has repeatedly failed the women of this country. The silence of the Commission’s chairperson is alarming,” senior TMC leader and minister Chandrima Bhattacharya said.

Echoing her, another TMC minister Shashi Panja wondered why the NCW remains silent whenever such incidents occur in BJP-ruled states but becomes
“overactive” in states ruled by opposition parties.

“This is the reality of women in BJP-ruled states. It is alarming. Women, especially from scheduled caste and scheduled tribe backgrounds, are being subject to unimaginable cruelty. The silence of NCW fails the women and deprives them of justice,” Panja said. Reacting to the allegations, BJP state general secretary Agnimitra Paul said the TMC should stop lecturing others on women’s safety and security.

“The entire country is aware of the ground realities in West Bengal. In BJP-ruled states, the police take prompt action unlike Bengal where the police wait for the orders of their political masters,” she said.

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