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Indian protests broken up

June 2, 2014

Indian police have broken up a protest against last week's fatal gang rape of two teenage girls in the country's northern Uttar Pradesh state. Much of the anger is directed at the state's chief minister.

Indien Proteste gegen Vergewaltigung in Uttar Pradesh 02.06.2014
Image: Reuters

Police officers used water cannon to break up a protest group of several hundred, mainly women protesters in the capital of Uttar Pradesh, Luknow, on Monday.

The demonstrators, who had gathered outside the office of the state's chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, were demanding that he crack down on rape and other forms of violence against women and girls.

The protests were just the latest to be held amid an uproar caused by the news of last week's gang rapes and killings of two teenage girls in the village of Katra.

Bodies found hanging

The two girls, from India's lowest caste, were apparently seized and raped to death by a group of five assailants, after they had gone out to a nearby field to relieve themselves last Tuesday night, as their homes have no toilets.

Their lifeless bodies were found hanging from a mango tree the next morning.

The father of one of the girls has said that when he went to local police to report that the two cousins were missing, they failed to investigate. He has also accused them of refusing to do so because they belonged to a low caste.

Two police officers have since been sacked for dereliction of duty and five suspects, including two other police officers have been arrested in connection with the case.

On Sunday, local police said the three main suspects had confessed to fatally raping the two girls.

Federal investigation?

Yadav has since called for the case to be handed over to federal investigators, but his critics have accused him of a lax approach towards the issue of women's safety in the state.

The widespread problem of violence against women in India gained international attention following the fatal gang-rape of a 23-year-old student on a bus in New Delhi in late 2012.

That case sparked mass protests and the national government responded by tightening up its legislation against sexual violence and doubling prison terms for convicted rapists to up to 20 years.

pfd/ipj (AP, AFP)

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