UP teen murder: 4 policemen arrested for tampering with evidence

Lakhimpur Kheri (Uttar Pradesh): A teen girl found dead at a police station in Uttar Pradesh was murdered but not raped, according to a second autopsy conducted today. She was strangled and died of asyphxia, the report said.

The 14-year-old was found dead on Friday, tied to a tree by her dupatta at a police station in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri district.

Her parents- Tarranum and Intezam Ali -had alleged she had been raped at the Nighaasan police station on Friday morning. She ventured out with their cattle for grazing, they claim.  When she didn't return, they went looking for her and found her propped up next to a tree.  Three policemen who insisted she had committed suicide advised them to "take the body and run away."

Four policemen - Constable Ram Chandra Kumar, Sub-Inspector BK Singh, Constable Uma Shanker and Constable Shiv Kumar -  have been arrested on charges of tampering of evidence. Lakhimpur Kheri's Superindent of Police, DK Rai, has been transferred.

On Friday, the police declared the teen's death was a suicide, provoking angry reactions from activists and the public, and a slate of media reports. Under pressure, Chief Minister Mayawati intervened and ordered a new autopsy this morning. The victim's parents watched as policemen used an axe to break open the door to the room where the teen was allegedly raped and killed. Blood was scraped off the floor and sent to a forensic lab. Meanwhile, three doctors who conducted the first post-mortem of the girl have also been suspended.

The National Commission for Women (NCW) has sent a notice to the UP government. "The NCW wants swift inquiry so that no evidence gets left out," said chairperson Yasmeen Abrar. The NCW may send a team to conduct its own inquiry after it gets a report from the UP government.

Social activists are outraged. Women's activist Madhu Kishwar said, "The biggest threat to the people of India is from the police of India... I think we have the most lawless and criminalized police system in the world.

Meenakshi Lekhi, human rights lawyer, said, "The victim is just a symbol of all that is wrong with the police administration - non-listing of cases, non-investigations, no productivity basically. The police system generally is not people friendly, it is corrupt and works on political dictates, mismanaged and controlled by few and not a service agency as it should be."

The BSP today issued a statement condemning the National Human Rights Commission and National Commission for Women for defaming the state government.

"NHRC and NCW are trying to malign the state Govt. They are behaving like a political opposition. they are hand in glove with the opposition. Krishna Tirath should concentrate on atrocities on women in the national capital than in UP," read the statement.

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