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Pressure on India Over Alleged Murder of Two Village Girls


NEW DELHI--Pressure built on the Indian government to respond to the alleged rape and murder of two village girls–an attack that jolted the world after photographs of the dead teenagers hanging from a mango tree began circulating.

India’s home ministry said the government was expecting an investigative report that was requested by officials in the prime minister’s office. “They are shocked,” Kuldeep Dhatwalia, a ministry spokesman, said on Friday, referring to the prime minister’s staff.

The bodies of the cousins, aged 14 and 16, were found early Wednesday, according to Ganga Singh, the official investigating the attack in the village of Katra in Uttar Pradesh. A medical report from a state-run hospital said the girls had been raped.

Police on Thursday arrested two men in connection with the case. They haven’t been charged, according to Mr. Singh. The men couldn’t be contacted. Mr. Singh said he believed they haven’t yet retained legal counsel.

Two other men believed to have participated in the alleged assault are still being sought, police say.

Women’s safety has dominated India’s national consciousness since the gang-rape and murder of a young student in New Delhi in 2012. That crime transfixed the world with its brutality and unleashed a period of nationwide soul-searching on how the country treats women. The case also ended a taboo on public discussion of sexual abuse in India, and the national government overhauled its sexual-assault laws.

Violent attacks continue to make headlines. Police in the western state of Maharashtra said Friday they arrested two people on allegations of rape, sodomy and torture at a shelter and boarding school for children.

Ajit Chandrakant Dabholkar, 52, and his female colleague Lalita Bhagwan Tonde, 30, were arrested Monday after police raided the shelter.

“We didn’t even know they were running a shelter and boarding school,” said R.R. Patil, a police officer who headed the raid.

The couple hasn’t been charged, according to Mr. Patil. Mr. Dabholkar and Ms. Tonde couldn’t be reached to comment. Mr. Patil said he believes the two haven’t yet retained legal counsel.



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