Hanged Indian girls' case: Rape in doubt

Hanged Indian girls' case: Rape in doubt

NEW DELHI - An alleged gang rape case in which two teenage cousins were found hanged from a tree in India took a twist yesterday, as sources said a forensic investigation by the federal government concluded they were not sexually assaulted, in contradiction to a local post-mortem report.

India's Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD) found no proof of sexual assault after examining the swabs, clothes and personal effects from the two girls, thought to be 14 and 15, BBC reported yesterday.

"No male DNA had been found on the clothes and personal effects" of the girls and also "no female DNA was found on the samples taken from the male suspects", BBC reported, quoting sources from CDFD.

The girls, believed to have been gang-raped on the way to relieve themselves, were found hanged from a mango tree in northern Uttar Pradesh state in May. Three men were arrested, along with two policemen, and remain in jail nearly three months after the incident. The latest forensic findings conflict with the post-mortem examination conducted earlier by the local authorities that confirmed multiple sexual assaults and death due to hanging.

"I don't know whether the samples sent to the labs were of my daughter or of someone else. Ever since the post-mortem was conducted, every effort has been made to conceal the facts... Justice is being denied to us," the father of one of the victims said, adding he was shocked by the latest report.

The case, which was initially handled by the state police and later handed over to federal investigators, is increasingly shrouded in myth, with officials beginning to doubt the testimony of the victims' families after lie-detector tests.

Some media, citing information allegedly leaked from the investigators, have said the murders may even be a case of honour killing.

This article was first published on August 22, 2014.
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