India Dalit Girls Gang-Rape Graphic Photo Murder Cousins Hung Mango Treee
Two girls are seen hanging from a tree in a village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh Reuters

Police in India say they have arrested a third man over the brutal rape and murder of teenage two cousins, as gruesome photos showing the girls' bodies hanging from a mango tree emerged.

Police superintendent Atul Kumar Saxena said a suspect identified as Awadhesh Yadav was taken into custody.

Yadav and other four men allegedly gang-raped and killed the two girls aged 14 and 16 in the rural village of Katra in Uttar Pradesh state earlier this week.

The crime outraged the local population who claimed police had done nothing to prevent it because the girls were from the Dalit community, also called "untouchables" and considered the lowest of India's castes.

Villagers found the teenagers' bodies hanging from a mango tree hours after they disappeared from fields near their home. They had reportedly gone out in the evening because there was no toilet in their home and never came back.

A post-mortem examination confirmed that both of the girls were raped and strangled.

Local residents held a silent protest against police inaction at the site where the bodies were found.

Pictures from the scene showed dozens of men and women surrounding the tree and sitting under the girls' bodies as they swung in the wind.

They refused to allow authorities take the bodies down until the culprits were apprehended.

The father of one of the girls said that, because of his family low rank in the caste system, local officers ignored him as he went to register a complaint about his missing daughter.

"The first thing I was asked was my caste. When they found out that I came from a low caste, they shooed me away and refused to look for the girls," he told the BBC.

A local policeman, Sarvesh Yadav and Head Constable Chatrapal Gangwar, are among the three arrested and face charges of criminal conspiracy and dereliction of duty.

Officials are also searching for another police officer, identified as Chhatrapal Yadav, and two unidentified men.

Katra police station chief has since been suspended.

India Dalit Girls Gang-Rape Graphic Photo Murder Cousins Hung Mango Treee
Onlookers sit at the site where two girls were hanged from a tree in Uttar Pradesh