An Indian court has rejected a police report claiming that two girls found hanging from a mango tree in Uttar Pradesh state were not raped and killed, but committed suicide. The two cousins, thought to be aged 14 and 15, were found dead in May 2014.
Following the incident, the police arrested at least three people while earlier reports suggested the two girls – part of the Dalit group, at the bottom of India's rigid cast system – had been gang-raped by five men when they had gone out to relieve themselves. Other reports suggested it was an honour killing, but preliminary post-mortem examinations confirmed the girls had been repeatedly raped and died due to hanging.
The rejected police probe suggested the two girls committed suicide out of shame, after one of the two cousins was seen with a boy. However, the girls' families accused the police of having conducted a superficial investigation.
Three men, along with two policemen accused of "dereliction of duty", were released on bail in September 2015, the BBC reported.
By June 2014, another two girls were found hanging from trees in Uttar Pradesh, which has one of the highest rates of rape across in India. Sexual violence is common in the Asian nation, where women are often raped by a member of the family and assailants are not always prosecuted.
In July 2014, the country's National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) warned that some 93 women are raped in India every day. The bureau also recorded more than 93,000 rapes in 2013.