LUCKNOW, India — Two teenage sisters in rural India were raped and killed by attackers who hung their bodies from a mango tree, which became the scene of a silent protest by villagers angry about alleged police inaction in the case. Two of the four men arrested so far are police officers.
Villagers found the girls' bodies hanging from the tree early Wednesday, hours after they disappeared from fields near their home in Katra village in Uttar Pradesh state, police Superintendent Atul Saxena said. The girls, who were 14 and 15, had gone into the fields because there was no toilet in their home.
Hundreds of angry villagers stayed next to the tree throughout Wednesday, silently protesting the police response. Indian TV footage showed the villagers sitting under the girls' bodies as they swung in the wind, and preventing authorities from taking them down until the suspects were arrested.
Police arrested two police officers and two men from the village later Wednesday and were searching for three more suspects.
Autopsies confirmed the girls had been raped and strangled before being hung, Saxena said.
Records show a rape is committed every 22 minutes in India, a nation of 1.2 billion people. Activists say that number is low because of an entrenched culture of tolerance for sexual violence, which leads many cases to go unreported.