Two teenage sisters in rural India were raped and killed by attackers who hung their bodies from a mango tree, which became the scene of a silent protest by villagers angry about alleged police inaction in the case. Two of the four men arrested so far are police officers.
Villagers found the girls' bodies hanging from the tree Wednesday morning, hours after they disappeared from fields near their home in Katra village in Uttar Pradesh state, police Superintendent Atul Saxena said Thursday. The girls, who were 14 and 15, had gone into the fields because there was no toilet in their home.
Hundreds of angry villagers stayed next to the tree for the rest of Wednesday, silently protesting the police response. Indian TV footage showed the villagers sitting under the girls' bodies as they swung in the wind, and preventing authorities from taking them down from the tree until the suspects were arrested.
Katra is about 300 kilometres (180 miles) southwest of the state capital, Lucknow.
Police arrested two police officers and two men from the village later Wednesday and were searching for three more suspects.
Autopsies confirmed the girls had been raped and strangled before being hung, Saxena said.
The villagers accused the chief of the local police station of ignoring a complaint by the girls' father Tuesday night that the girls were missing. The station chief has since been suspended.
The family belongs to the Dalit community, also called "untouchables" and considered the lowest rung in India's age-old caste system.