Lakhimpur Kheri (Uttar Pradesh):
One of the main suspects in the rape and murder of two teenage sisters in Lakhimpur Kheri was arrested this morning after an encounter in which police shot him in the right leg. A video shows police retrieving an injured Junaid from a field as he hobbles and gets help from two police officers.
Police said Junaid – the last of the six men arrested – was one of two who had been friends with the girls and tricked them into coming with them on motorbikes. The girls’ family said no such friendship existed and they were kidnapped. The bodies, hanging from a tree, were found near their village yesterday.
A man named Chhotu had introduced the girls to the Junaid and Sohail, police said. “These two men took her to a sugar cane farm yesterday where they raped her. After the girls said they had to marry her now, they got angry. With the help of Hafizul, they strangled the girls to death. Then they called Karimuddin and Arif, who helped them hang the girls to make it look like suicide,” said the region’s police chief Sanjeev Suman.
While Chhotu is from the victims’ neighborhood, the other five are from a nearby village. “With these six arrests, everyone involved is caught,” said the chief of police.
The girls’ father has called for the death penalty for them. The state’s BJP government, which said the case should be tried in summary court, has promised “such measures that will tremble the souls of their generations to come.”
The opposition, including the BSP and the Samajwadi party, have also cited previous cases, calling this crime “the latest evidence of how law and order has broken down” in Uttar Pradesh.