The girls were raped and killed in the village of Murmadi, which is located in the Bhandara district in Maharashtra, reports The Hindu. The sisters, ages 6, 8 and 11, were reported missing from school on Feb. 14 by their grandfather. A villager discovered the bodies of the three girls in a well just a kilometer from Murmadi.
Rajendra Singh, inspector general of police, Nagpur Range, told reporters, “The findings of the post-mortem report suggested that there was sexual assault on all three girls. But the report is not clear on how they were killed,” reports The Hindu. Villagers protested and blocked a highway demanding the police find the culprits responsible for the terrible crime.
According to The Hindu, the three sisters were being raised by their mother and grandparents after their father died five years ago.
The deaths were initially ruled an accident and villagers were outraged by what they believed to be poor police work. Their mother was quoted by CNN-IBN as saying, “The police did not take the case seriously and did nothing for two days.” Heavy Industries Minister Praful Patel said one officer involved in the investigation had already been suspended, notes AP. Manish Tewari, Union Minister of State and Member of Parliament, said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was giving the family 1 million rupees, approximately $18,300, reports AP.
The Guardian notes that sexual assaults and police inaction have outraged India recently. In December, the gang-rape and murder of a woman in Dehli sparked global protest and caused India to enact new laws protecting women and increasing the sentences for a rape conviction and also enabling the death penalty for extreme cases, notes AP.