Newspaper article International New York Times

Girls' Killings in India Put State Leaders under Fire

Newspaper article International New York Times

Girls' Killings in India Put State Leaders under Fire

Article excerpt

The gruesome rapes and deaths have incited outrage in India and fury against the state government and the police.

Sohan Lal reached the police outpost at 11 o'clock on the night his daughter disappeared, he said, already desperate for help. He bent down before the officer in charge and clutched his feet, telling him to hurry, hurry.

"I was on my knees begging them to come quickly, but they would not take us seriously," said Mr. Lal, 50. He said the officers responded with "foul language" about his caste and his daughter.

Mr. Lal found his daughter, 12, close to dawn. She and her cousin, who was 14, had been raped, and their bodies were hanging by their scarves from a mango tree in this village about 200 miles from Delhi, the Indian capital.

Relatives insisted that the bodies hang there for 12 hours, preventing the police from bringing them down, because they wanted outsiders to see how the girls had been found.

The gruesome deaths have incited outrage in India and fury against the state government, which is led by a rival to the Bharatiya Janata Party, newly elected to lead the national government.

A crowd of women, members of the Bharatiya Janata Party, marched on the office of the state's chief minister on Monday, refusing to disperse until the authorities turned a water cannon on them. And a federal security official criticized the state authorities for not applying a rarely used act that levies severe punishments for acts of violence against Indians who are from the lowest castes.

"It was a clear case of atrocity on a weaker section of the society; we do not know why the state government has not slapped it on them," Kiren Rijiju, the junior minister for internal security, was quoted as saying by The Press Trust of India.

Mr. Lal said that last Tuesday evening, the girls were on their way to find a place to go to the bathroom when they were forcibly led away by three brothers. The accused -- Pappu Yadav, Awadhesh Yadav and Urvesh Yadav -- come from the same caste as the three police officers whom Mr. Lal had asked for help.

At one point, Mr. Lal said, the police brought the brothers to the station for an interrogation. …

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