Lucknow: Three Dalit minor girls were found in an unconscious state in Uttar Pradesh's Unnao district on Wednesday evening. Two minor girls died while the third, a 17-year-old, is battling for her life in Regency Hospital, Kanpur. The three are cousins.
The incident took place in Babura village which falls under the jurisdiction of Asoha police station in Unnao district. The girls aged 16, 13 and 17 were cousins and had gone to fetch cattle fodder from a field which belonged to their family at around 3 pm on Wednesday. When they did not return till late in the night, some of their family members along with the neighbours mounted a search for them. They found them lying in their field in an unconscious state, the police said.
The Superintendent of Police of Unnao, Anand Kulkarni, has said that there were no injury marks on the bodies and that prima facie their bodies appeared to show symptoms of poisoning.
“There were no injury marks on the bodies of the girls and police is waiting for the post-mortem report to determine their cause of death. We are trying to reconstruct the crime scene to get to the bottom of the matter. The investigation is underway. The police has deployed six teams to look into the matter. The villagers are being interrogated,” Kulkarni said, adding that as per their investigation and multiple statements by eyewitness, a large amount of froth was fount at the spot where the incident occurred.
The family of the girls have alleged that it was a case of murder. Vishal, the brother of the girls, alleged that they were found with their hands and feet tied up. “When we rushed to the spot we found them tied up with clothes, like their dupatta,” he alleged, asking: “Why would the girls tie their own hands and feet if they wanted to die by suicide? It is a clear case of murder,” Vishal alleged.
The family members said the trio were taken to a hospital in Kanpur where the two younger girls were declared brought dead. The oldest was shifted to another hospital in Kanpur.
Newsclick has learnt that their bodies were sent for a post-mortem at 11 am to a government hospital, where a panel of four doctors is conducting an examination.
VILLAGE ERUPTS IN PROTEST
The isolated village of Babura has erupted in protest over the deaths of the two Dalit girls as outrage gripped Uttar Pradesh. Residents of the village in Asoha have been on a dharna since last night and put up a blockade on the road connecting the village. The people sitting on the dharna alleged that the families of the girls have been kept under house arrest by the police and were being “harassed”. Even media persons were not allowed to meet the victims’ family members.
There is heavy police deployment at the village and in adjacent areas in view of the shocking incident, following which protests erupted in the village and adjoining areas.
Former Kanpur MP and CPI (M) leader Subhashini Ali, who visited the girl, told Newsclick: “I visited the hospital where the third girl is on ventilator support. The statement of the girl was not recorded as she is in a very critical condition. Though her brother claimed that their hands and legs were tied up with clothes but the police say when they reached the spot the bodies were lying in the field,” the CPI (M) leader said.
Accusing the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government of presiding over a deteriorating law and order in the state, she added, “Such incidents are happening in UP on a daily basis and the government is just concerned about its agenda. The law and order situation in the state is in an abysmal condition. Now people have very little hope of justice,” she told Newsclick.
The law and order situation in Unnao district — 65 kms from state capital of Lucknow has often come under scrutiny as several incidents of brutality have surfaced from the area in the past too.
In 2019, a rape victim was burned alive by five men outside Sindupur village in Unnao while she was on her way to a court in Rae Bareli to attend a hearing. She later died.
Last year, a young journalist was shot dead in broad daylight. His family members had claimed that he was murdered for exposing the sand mining mafia and land grabbers active in the region.