Father of India girls who were gang raped, murdered demands justice

KATRA SHAHADATGANJ, India (AFP) - The father of one of two girls that were gang raped and lynched in northern India said on Sunday he had refused compensation from the state government he blamed for failing to stop the horrendous crime.

The father, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said he only wanted justice for the men who attacked his daughter and niece, aged 14 and 12, who were found hanging from a tree on Wednesday.

The father made the comments after a string of politicians descended on the dirt-poor village in Budaun district of Uttar Pradesh amid growing uproar over the attacks.

"We have only made one demand from each politician who has visited us in the last two days: We want justice," he told AFP. "We want the same treatment to the accused that they gave to our daughters - they should be hung from a tree."

Five people have been arrested over the attack, which occurred when the cousins, from low castes, headed into the fields on Tuesday night to relieve themselves because their homes, like most in the village, do not have toilets.

The families of the victims have said police could have "saved" the girls but claimed they refused to help when they found out they were from a lower caste.

"The Yadav government had offered us 500,000 (S$10,595) rupees... We won't take it, it is the administration that could have saved my daughters and didn't," the father said on Sunday.

Rights groups and political opponents have accused the government in Uttar Pradesh, headed by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, of failing to tackle crimes against women.

Ms Mayawati, a former chief minister of the state who is regarded as the political champion of India's lower castes, became the latest high-profile figure to visit the village on Sunday.

"In all of Uttar Pradesh there is no law and order, there is jungle raj (rule) here," Ms Mayawati said after landing her helicopter in Katra Shahadatganj village, some 200km south-east of New Delhi.

There is a long history of women and girls from India's lowest castes of being sexually abused by people from higher castes.

Uttar Pradesh is deeply divided along caste lines.

India revised its laws on sex attacks in the wake of the December 2012 gang rape of a student on a bus in Delhi which triggered outrage, but they have done little to stem the tide of sex attacks.

A lawmaker from the socialist Samajwadi Party which runs the state also visited the families earlier on Sunday.

Mr Rahul Gandhi, who led India's Congress party to a crushing defeat in national elections last month, met the families on Saturday.

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