The bodies of two teenage girls, who were gang raped and murdered by hanging in May in northern India, will be exhumed for a fresh autopsy, media reports said Wednesday, citing police officials.
The Central Bureau of Investigation, or CBI, which took over the investigation from state police, has reportedly demanded a fresh autopsy, more than six weeks after the death of the girls. During this period, three suspects who were arrested after the incident took place, had provided confessions to state police. The CBI, which reportedly conducted lie-detector tests on the suspects, said that it has found “deviations” in their statements. Three suspected attackers and two policemen were arrested days after the incident.
“The CBI is investigating the case under pressure. We want a fair probe. I will fast till the agency assures my family of a fair investigation,” the brother of one of the victims, told The Indian Express, a local newspaper. He also reportedly said that the families of the suspects also should take lie-detector tests.
The agency has conducted lie-detector tests on the victims' families, a source told NDTV, a local news network, but reportedly refused to disclose more details.
The two cousins, aged 14 and 15, were found hanging from a tree in Katra, a village in the Badaun district of Uttar Pradesh state, a day after they disappeared. Reports of the incident, triggered outrage within India and abroad about the safety of women, and the law and order situation, on the subcontinent.
The state's police had conducted an autopsy soon after the bodies were recovered, which confirmed multiple sexual assaults on the two teenagers and death from hanging. However, the autopsy, which was reportedly carried out without following established procedures and "left many questions unanswered,” prompted the CBI to order another examination.
According to reports, Katra locals were furious about police inaction over a missing complaint about the two teenagers, who reportedly belonged to a low caste, and launched a silent protest by refusing to allow local police to take down the girls' corpses until the first arrest was made, in late May.
Gang rapes in India have drawn worldwide attention and the government has tightened laws on sexual violence following the 2012 gang rape, and subsequent death, of a 23-year-old woman on a bus in New Delhi.