It has been nearly two weeks since three sisters aged 11, nine, and six were raped and murdered in the Bhandara district of Maharashtra, but in the tiny village where they lived, nobody has been arrested yet. The police admits it has suspects but has not been able to zero in on them due to the lack of eyewitnesses.
In Parliament today, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said, "It appears that all three (girls) were subjected to sexual abuse before being murdered. The collective conscience of the House, I am sure, is jolted by this."
In Bhandara, sources have confirmed that the autopsy in the case was mishandled, which could impact the trial, if the culprits are caught.
Sources say an autopsy was performed by a panel of local doctors who are not forensic experts.
Fingernail clippings and hair samples of the girls were not collected, which is a requirement for cases of sexual abuse. The post-mortem was reportedly not correctly filmed, which could also hurt the case in court.
The day that her daughters were found dead, their mother told NDTV, "I want the culprits to be caught and hanged in public."
The girls went missing after school on February 14. Their bodies were spotted by a local farmer two days later in a well when he came to water his fields. He then informed the police. The bodies were recovered from the well located just off the major road in the area, the Nagpur-Raipur Highway.
Members of the autopsy team say the police pressured them to hurry with the autopsy. Speaking to NDTV, Bhandara Superintendent of Police Dr Aarti Singh said, "The police cannot decide who would conduct the post-mortem. If the autopsy team did not have forensic experts to conduct the autopsy, they should have informed us. They are the authority and they should have suggested alternatives."