India arrests 4 in rape, death of teen sisters

In this Wednesday, May 28, 2014 image taken from video, villagers gather around the bodies of two teenage sisters hanging from a tree in Katra village in Uttar Pradesh state, India.

A group of men, including at least two police officers, raped and killed two teenage sisters in rural India then hung their bodies from a mango tree, authorities said Thursday, announcing the arrests of four men.

Villagers found the girls' bodies hanging from the tree Wednesday morning, hours after they disappeared from fields near their home in Katra village in Uttar Pradesh state, police Superintendent Atul Saxena said. The girls, who were 14 and 15, had gone into the fields because there was no toilet in their home.

Hundreds of angry villagers stayed next to the tree for the rest of Wednesday, silently protesting alleged police inaction in the case. Indian TV footage showed the villagers sitting under the girls' bodies as they swung in the wind, and preventing authorities from taking them down from the tree until the suspects were arrested.

Katra is about 300 kilometers (180 miles) southwest of the state capital, Lucknow.

Police arrested the four men later in the day and were searching for three more suspects.

Autopsies confirmed the girls had been gang-raped and strangled before being hanged, Saxena said.

The villagers accused the chief of the local police station of ignoring a complaint by the girls' father Tuesday night that the girls were missing. The station chief has since been suspended.

The family belongs to the Dalit community, also called "untouchables" and considered the lowest rung in India's age-old caste system.

India tightened its anti-rape laws last year, making gang rape punishable by the death penalty, even in cases where the victim survives. The new laws came after the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old woman on a moving bus in New Delhi that triggered nationwide protests.

Records show a rape is committed every 22 minutes in India, a nation of 1.2 billion people. Activists say that number is low because of an entrenched culture of tolerance for sexual violence, which leads many cases to go unreported. Women are often pressed by family or police to stay quiet about sexual assault, experts say, and those who do report cases are often subjected to public ridicule or social stigma.

Last month, the head of Uttar Pradesh state's governing party, the regionally prominent Samajwadi Party, told an election rally that the party was opposed to the law calling for gang rapists to be executed.

"Boys will be boys," Mulayam Singh Yadav said. "They make mistakes."

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  1. Grace posted on 05/29/2014 04:30 PM
    The phrase "boys will be boys" makes me feel physically ill. If a boy rapes a girl/women, it's because he couldn't control himself or she was asking for it because of the way she was dressed or because he was sexually frustrated and women keep turning him down. These are not excuses, because there is no excuse in these cases. Women are taught from young ages that they have to be careful, they have to defend themselves and not wear anything that could be revealing, because if something happens, she will not be taken seriously. Don't even get me started on the number of men that have been raped and not reported it because they are afraid of the shame and ridicule because "men can't be raped". Rape culture in this day and age is despicable. Maybe instead of "slut shaming" women, we should be teaching boys something useful, like not raping someone? Not all men will sexually assault/harass someone, but every women I know has been a victim of one or both in her lifetime. No one should be made to be afraid everywhere they go simply because of their gender.

    These poor girls did nothing wrong. They left their home and were attacked because they live in a poor area with no plumbing. It was not enough to rape these poor girls (not even women at those ages), to make them simple objects for the sexual release, they killed them, then went the horrible step further by hanging them, destroying their family/friends because they had to witness it.

    This is the world we live in. No matter how 'civilized' the world has become, we are still not equal, we are still seem as objects to many and we are still living in a world where you may not feel safe alone.

    I apologize for the wall of text, but I have very strong feelings on these matters.
  2. ric posted on 05/29/2014 10:19 PM
    What's with these indian men? The killers should all be publicly hanged from that same tree.
  3. Jerry Mayer posted on 05/30/2014 01:37 PM
    I do not understand why this man who repeatedly raped his own daughter for years is set free,he should have been hung a long time ago , and that goes for anyone else who commits a crime of this nature .SICK SICK PEOPLE.
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