The family of two minor cousins brutally gang-raped and murdered nine days ago has decided to leave Uttar Pradesh for good.
“We don’t want to stay in Katra Sadatganj or in district headquarters Badaun. We are moving out of the state lock, stock and barrel. Messengers from strongmen in the area have been coming and telling us that once the media leaves and politicians stop visiting us, we will be at their mercy again. We don't know where we will go but we don't intend to stay in UP,” the distraught father of the younger of the two girls told HT.
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The cousins, aged 14 and 15, went missing on the night of May 27, when they went to the fields to relieve themselves for lack of a toilet at home. They never came back and were found hanging from a mango tree the next morning. Five persons have been arrested so far — three brothers, booked for rape and murder, and two constables who face charges of criminal conspiracy.
After the incident and the ensuing public outrage, more than 300 personnel from the Rapid Action Force, Provincial Arms Constabulary and nearby police stations have been deployed in the village. More than a dozen male and female police personnel guard the house. But all this police presence has not been able to instill any sense of security in the grieving family.
“Our women constables are in their house round the clock and move out with their women folk when they go out of the house. We are not going to remove the guards. They have been deployed permanently,” said a senior district police official, requesting anonymity.
But the family, which has claimed that the police are hand in glove with the accused, trusts no one. So much so that when the zonal commissioner of Bareilly visited them Wednesday, they asked him to provide them with gun licences so they could buy guns for their protection.
Read: Badaun rape victims' family claims being threatened
“We don’t need anything from the government, we just want justice for our daughters. How can we trust this administration when it posted guards outside the house of accused — Pappu, Avadhesh and Urvesh Yadav — as well? How long will the police remain here? A few weeks? Then who will take care of us,” asked the father.
In the family, there are three brothers — all landless farm labourers — who live with their respective families in a kaccha house with no toilet. The older victim was the daughter of the youngest brother — an only child.
HT asked the brother of the younger victim about the identity of the people threatening them. The young man, who cleared his Class 12 and works in Delhi, said, “They send people who drop hints about the helpless situation we will be in when the police leave this place. How can I name them if they themselves don’t come forward?”