The lifeless bodies of two teenage girls, aged 13 and 16, were found on their family farm in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
A 17-year-old girl was also found in the same spot in the state’s Unnao district, she is in a serious condition at a hospital.
All the girls belonged to the oppressed Dalit community and were from the same family. The older girls were blood sisters and the younger 13-year-old was their cousin.
The family found them on Wednesday with their hands tied and legs tied.
The teenagers had gone to their field on Wednesday afternoon to collect cattle fodder. Their families said they started searching for them when they did not return in an hour as they usually did.
Meanwhile, a senior police officer said the girls died of poisoning.
“There was some white substance coming out of their mouth and doctors have said there were symptoms of poisoning. We are recording statements of all the people concerned and an in-depth probe is being conducted. Necessary action is being taken,” Superintendent of Police Sureshrao A Kulkarni said.
The Unnao district where the crime occurred has been in the news for violence against women. In 2019, a woman was set on fire when she was on her way to testify against her alleged rapists but later died of her injuries. A lawmaker in the ruling right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party in Unnao was convicted of rape.
Violence against women has been in focus in India since the December 2012 gangrape and murder of a young woman on a bus in the capital, Delhi.