Lucknow (AsiaNews) - Two police officers and a civilian were arrested today in connection with the gang rape and murder of two Dalit girls aged 13 and 15, which took place on May 27 in Karta village (Badaun district, Uttar Pradesh). Msgr . Savio Fernandes, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Mumbai, tells AsiaNews "the heinous incident evokes a very strong sentiments within me, this inhuman and horrific violence on these teenage girls who were raped and then murdered reveal the depravity of the human nature of these perpetrators, who fear neither God nor the law".
The case has sparked outcry and protests in India and around the world because of the brutality of the attack: an autopsy has confirmed that the two teenagers - cousins - were raped in turn, killed by strangulation and then hanged. Their bodies were found hanging from a mango tree on the morning of May 28.
Compounding the situation was the police treatment of the father of one of the victims. Realizing they were missing on May 27, the man went to the local police station to report their disappearance. The two policemen - who have since been arrested - ignored his complaint, the father reveals, "as if to defend the guilty". Only after the discovery of the bodies, which sparked massive protests by the local population, did the police issue a warrant for the arrest of seven people.
So far the brother Pappu and Awadesh Yadav have been arrested. The father of one of the victims had seen his daughter with them before her death. The police officers Sarvesh Yadav e Chhatrapal Yadav, and Awadesh Yadav. The surname Yadav indicates the common belonging to a lower caste, but still higher than the Dalits, the "untouchables".
Msgr. Fernandes denounces "lack of respect for human life and the dignity of women. The deep-rooted structures of patriarchy results various forms of oppression and violence against women. In spite of the many demonstrations, discussions and expressions of concern, anger and solidarity, brazen acts of violence against women still seem to continue unabated. To combat the problem of violence against women, it is imperative that we work toward changing the socialization of men to be aware of the gender discrimination that exists and work toward changing it".