Four members of a family in Uttar Pradesh's Prayagraj, including a 16-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy, were found murdered at their home on Thursday morning.
Relatives of the family, which belongs to a Scheduled Caste, have claimed the girl could have been raped before her death, and they have accused a neighbouring family, which belongs to the so-called "upper caste", of the crime.
Police have registered an FIR with charges including gang rape and murder against 11 named persons, eight of whom have been arrested so far. The Prayagraj police chief told the media some people had been taken into custody for questioning.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the party's in-charge for the state, which votes for a new government next year, landed in Prayagraj today and met the family of those killed.
"The family is in terror. All of them are women, the male member works in Jharkhand. They don't know what will they do alone, somebody can come and torment them. Police didn't help them," she said.
The bodies of a 50-year-old man, his 45-year-old wife, and their children were found at their home yesterday morning.
Police said they may have been attacked with a sharp weapon, and that there were grievous injuries on their bodies. The girl's body was found in a room inside the house, while the other three bodies were found together in the courtyard.
A member of the extended family told the media of a land dispute with the "upper caste" family that had been festering since 2019, and claimed the victims had been assaulted by that family in September. The police, however, were trying to force a compromise, the family member alleged.
"The police were forcing the murder victims to compromise. Sushil Kumar (a police constable) used to come to us and pressure us to compromise. The police used to sit at their (accused) homes. The local inspector also told us to compromise," the family member told the media.
"On September 21 the family was beaten up but an FIR was filed only after a week, and then a counter FIR was filed against the aggrieved family too, though they were the ones who got beaten up," the family member added.
"It appears all four were hit on the head with an axe. There are grievous injuries on the bodies. Initial information suggests that in 2019 and 2021 they had filed cases under the SC/ST Act against some people related to a land dispute. The family alleged there was no headway in these cases. We will take strict action," Sarvashrestha Tripathi, the Prayagraj police chief, said in a video statement.