Two minor Dalit girls were declared brought dead in hospital and another was in a serious condition after they were found in an unconscious state in a field in a village in Asoha block of Unnao district in eastern Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday, police said.
The girls were found in the field in the evening by villagers when they didn’t return after they left home to collect fodder for cattle, local sources said.
Director General of Police H.C. Awasthy said the post-mortem could not ascertain the cause of death and the viscera had been preserved for chemical examination. “No injury mark was found on the body of the deceased in the autopsy,” he stated.
On the condition of the third girl, he said she had been referred to a Kanpur hospital for better treatment. “According to the medical bulletin, it is a suspected case of poisoning and her condition is critical but stable.” Six teams have been formed to investigate the case from “all possible angles”.
Ramesh Chandra Prayalankar, Circle Officer, Purwa, said that on the complaint of the family members, an FIR had been registered against unidentified persons under sections 302 and 201 of the IPC. “The girls were related to each other and were found in the mustard field of the family,” he told The Hindu.
He denied reports that the victims’ family members were detained at the police station and not allowed to talk to the media. “There is no such attempt. They were called to understand the sequence of events and now they have been sent home under police protection to conduct the last rites,” he said. Later, he observed that the last rites would be conducted on Friday morning. “As it had turned dark, the family wanted to conduct the last rites on Friday,” he added.
Chief Medical Superintendent of Unnao District Hospital Basant Bhatt said that when the girl was brought in, she was in a serious condition. “Clinically, it appeared like a case of organo phosphorous poisoning. The chemical is used in insecticides. Froth was coming out of her mouth and she was gasping for breath. We have intubated her to take water out of lungs.”
Videos make claims
However, videos have emerged where family members could be heard making conflicting claims about the condition in which the girls were found in the field. In one video, brother of the girl who is struggling for life could be heard saying the victims were found with their limbs tied with their stoles. It made locals question how victims could consume poison if their hands were tied. In another video, the mother of the girl could be heard saying that the hands were not tied and didn’t express doubt on anybody.
Police sources said policemen from nine stations were camping in the village. Enraged locals said they would dig the graves themselves and asked the administration not to use an earthmover for the purpose. Local sources said officials had agreed to the demand.
The Opposition was quick to react and described it as yet another example of the deteriorating law and order situation in the State.
Chandrashekhar Azad of the Bhim Army urged the survivor to be referred to the AIIMS, Delhi. Later, in a tweet, he demanded that a medical board should conduct another post-mortem of the deceased at the AIIMS, and half of its doctors should be from the “Bahujan community”. Earlier, members of the Bhim Army protested in front of the private hospital in Kanpur.
A delegation of the Samajwadi Party met the family members of the victims. “First a daughter in Hathras, then a mother in Budaun and now sisters of Unnao – women are not safe in BJP rule,” tweeted SP President Akhilesh Yadav in Hindi.
Referring to Kuldeep Sengar case, Congress leader Udit Raj said it seemed Unnao had become a laboratory for crime against women.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had asked the Director General of Police to submit a detailed report on the incident, an official release said. He directed officials to ensure the best possible treatment to the victim at government cost, it added.