Monday, February 26, 2024

“This is murder. We want CBI probe,” say mothers of Unnao Dalit teens

Locals stage protest in Unnao. Photo: PTI

Accusing the Uttar Pradesh police officials of trying to cover up the matter, relatives of two Dalit girls, who were found dead at a field in Asoha village of Unnao, demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the matter, as police said a preliminary autopsy found no injuries on the victims and didn’t mention sexual assault.

“We want a CBI inquiry because our girls were murdered and we are being harassed. We have no enmity with anyone in the area and police should release our two relatives,” a report in Hindustan Times quoted mother of one of the victims as saying.

“We are sure our girls were murdered. This is common in this area,” said the mother of another girl.

“Everyone believed the police were trying to cover up the incident, and came out on the street,” Shashi Pal, a local villager told HT.

Three minor Dalit girls were found lying unconscious by villagers in a field in Asoha on Wednesday. While two were declared brought dead at the hospital, the third girl is in a critical condition and being treated at a hospital in Kanpur.

However, UP police under pressure after investigation lapses and forced cremation of a Dalit gang rape victim in Hathras last October, on Thursday registered an FIR based on the complaint of family members of two girls who were found dead.

The FIR invokes sections 302 (murder) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence) of the IPC.

According to the FIR, the three girls had gone to the field to collect fodder for their cattle around noon on Wednesday, but did not reach home till late evening.

A statement by the father of one of the girls, attached to the FIR, states that the scarves were tied around their necks and all the three girls had froth coming out of their mouths.

They were first taken to a nursing home first where the doctor refused to do the check up. They were then taken to the CHC Asoha government hospital where two girls were declared dead on arrival while the third girl was in a critical condition and was given preliminary treatment, he says.

She was then referred to Unnao district hospital.

“We did not have any enmity with anyone but we want a police investigation in it,” he added.

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh police, citing autopsy report, claimed there were no injury marks on the bodies of the two victims. The postmortem also report didn’t mention sexual assault.

The opposition leaders also demanded a high-level inquiry into the incident.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday alleged that the Uttar Pradesh government was not only suppressing the Dalit society, but also crushing the honour and human rights of women in the state.

A medical bulletin by the Kanpur hospital said the third girl was in a critical but stable condition. “On primary assessment, she was found in shock, a suspected case of poisoning,” the bulletin reads.

The last rites of two teenage girls were performed here on Friday morning amid tight security arrangements.

Earlier, angry relatives and villagers on refused to let officials bury two Dalit girls, demanding a proper probe into the matter.

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