The state of Uttar Pradesh is India's most populous region. This year it has become infamous for a high rate of brutal rapes and murders of women, and ineffectual policing, after two teenaged girls were raped and hung from a tree in May. Public anger and political controversy over the attacks are gaining momentum, as a culture of sexual assault in India and incidents of violence between Hindu castes, is revealed to the world.
This unnamed woman was hung from a tree in Moradabad, in Uttar Pradesh on 12 June. Another was allegedly raped in a police station, according to police reports. Reuters The veiled mother of one of the two teenage girls who were raped and hung in Budaun district of Uttar Pradesh, sits inside her house. The two cousins, from a low-caste community, aged 14 and 15, went missing from their village home after going out to the toilet. The next morning, villagers found their bodies hanging from a mango tree in a nearby orchard. Anindito Mukherjee/Reuters The father of one of the two teenage girls, who were raped and hanged from a tree, weeps in his home, in Budaun, Uttar Pradesh. Anindito Mukherjee/Reuters Villagers watch the house of one of the two teenaged girls, who were raped and hung in Budaun, Uttar Pradesh. Anindito Mukherjee/Reuters In May, India's Congress party vice president Rahul Gandhi called for justice for the two teenagers. He visited the tree where the girls were found and spoke to members of the local community. Anindito Mukherjee/Reuters Indian policemen show two men (left and second-right), accused of gang raping and hanging two girls in Budaun. Three men were arrested for the rape and murder of the girls, and two policemen were held on suspicion of attempting to cover up the killings. Reuters Supporters of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) shout slogans during a protest against the rape of the cousins, as police use a water cannon to stop them from moving to the office of Akhilesh Yadav. The protestors demanded the state government be dismissed and the imposition of direct, presidential rule. Pawan Kumar/Reuters Indian policemen stand guard inside the house complex of the murdered teenage. Police officers were arrested, suspected of attempting to cover up the rape and murder. Since May, there have been repeated accusations of Indian police officers covering up sexual assaults, and failing to investigate reports of rape. Anindito Mukherjee/Reuters Women workers of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) shout slogans and burn an effigy of Akhilesh Yadav, chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, during a protest against the killings of two girls. Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yadav ordered that the case be handled by a fast-track court "to ensure that the guilty are brought to book without the usual procedural delay", his spokesman Navneet Sehgal said. Jitendra Prakash/Reuters Men have also been protesting against the high rate of sexual violence in. Here students hold placards and shout slogans during a protest against the killings of the teenaged girls in Bundaun, Uttar Pradesh. Adnan Abidi/Reuters