Two missing minor Dalit girls were found dead under mysterious circumstances in an upper-caste dominated Baburaha Tola village in Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh, while the third one was admitted to a Kanpur hospital in a critical condition.
Belonging to the Pasi community, the three sisters, aged between 13 and 17, had gone out to bring fodder from the fields at 2 pm on Thursday. When they did not return till 7 pm, their brother went to search for them. When he reached the field, he found them tied with a 'dupatta' lying unconscious.
The brother raised an alarm, calling other family members and villagers. They were rushed to the primary health centre where two of them were declared brought dead. The third one, in a critical condition, was referred to a Kanpur hospital. Bodies of the two girls were sent for post-mortem.
Doctors claimed that some white substance was oozing out of their mouth. Their family members, however, alleged that they were poisoned after being sexually assaulted. Tension prevailed in the upper-caste dominated village after the death of the Dalit girls.
The Superintendent of Police, Unnao, Anand Kulkarni, however, claimed that prima facie it appears that the girls ate some poisonous substance. The SP ruled out any attempt of sexual assault as there was no sign of any external injury and their clothes were also intact.
“Exact cause of death would be known only after a post-mortem report,” Kulkarni said, adding that additional police force has been deployed in the village to maintain law and order and check any untoward incident.
"As per the investigation so far, and based on statements of eyewitnesses and the doctor's opinion, a lot of froth was found at the spot. So, prima facie, this is a symptom of poisoning. We're investigating the matter. Prima facie, no injury marks have been found on the bodies. Six teams have been formed for the probe," he was quoted as saying by ANI.
The issue is likely to be raked up by the Opposition during the budget session of the state legislature, which began from Thursday. Samajwadi Party Leader Sunil Sajan alleged that Dalit girls were unsafe under the BJP government.
“The police are trying to hush up the case. We will raise the issue in the House and seek a high-level probe into the death of the Dalit sisters,” he said.