The bodies of two Dalit minor sisters, aged nearly 14 and 17 years respectively, were found allegedly hanging from a tree outside a village in the Nighasan area of Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri district, police said.
The sisters were found dead on Wednesday evening.
The mother of the girls said that her daughters were kidnapped by three bike-borne men at nearly 3 p.m. on Wednesday and were later found hanging from a tree in a cane field.
The girls' family alleged that they were allegedly raped and murdered.
After locals saw the bodies, they gathered at the spot to protest against the district administration in large numbers, forcing police to deploy personnel in the area to control the situation.
The bodies are being sent for post-mortem and a large number of police personnel have been deployed in the area.
"The site is being inspected by senior police officers of the district. Upon receiving information, the Nighasan police reached the spot immediately and action is being taken to send the bodies for post-mortem examination as per rules. Legal action will be taken based on the investigation of the case," the local police said in a statement.
Superintendent of Police (SP), Sanjeev Suman, too, rushed to Nighasan to take stock of the incident.
Police said that the girls' family "did not file any complaint until their bodies were found".
"We have sent the bodies for autopsy to ascertain the reason of death. However, as of now, we cannot rule out the possibility of suicide as there were no physical injuries on their bodies," the SP said.
Laxmi Singh, Inspector General of Police, Lucknow range, said, "The girls were found hanging by their own dupattas. There were no apparent injuries on their bodies."
The post-mortem, she said, will be conducted by a panel of experts.
"We will file an FIR based on whatever the family tells us in their complaint," she added.
Samajwadi Party President, Akhilesh Yadav has criticized the Uttar Pradesh government and attacked Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath over women's safety in the state.
"In Yogi government, goons are harassing mothers and sisters every day, very shameful. The government should get the matter investigated, the culprits should get the harshest punishment," he tweeted.
The incident is reminiscent of the 2014 deaths of the Badaun sisters, who were found dead in similar conditions. It led to massive protests in the village as the girls' family had alleged that their daughters were raped and murdered.
On January 31, 2019, the bodies of two other minor girls, 14 and 15 years old respectively, were found hanging in mysterious circumstances from an electricity pole in the Pasgawan area of Lakhimpur Kheri. Police subsequently said it was a case of honor killing. (KB/IANS)