Last month, we reported on the horrific story of two teenage sisters who were allegedly gang-raped and then murdered in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Their bodies were found hanging from a mango tree.
In that incident, the two girls, 14 and 15, had been attacked as they went to relieve themselves on the outskirts of their village. At the time, NPR’s Julie McCarthy reported that the lack of sanitation in rural India leaves women especially vulnerable.
Now, the BBC reports that the bodies of two women in as many days have been found in similar fashion, hanging from trees in the state.
The BBC says:
“The body of the latest victim was found in a village in the state’s Moradabad area on Thursday.
“Following the post-mortem examination, police inspector general Amarendra Sengar said ‘rape is not confirmed, she died due to hanging.'”
“Police told the BBC they were also investigating whether her death could have been a so-called ‘honour killing.'”
“The case follows a spate of killings and reports of rape, many in Uttar Pradesh, including one of a woman who says she was gang raped inside a police station in the state.”
The previous victim, a 44-year-old woman found in a different village, had told police that she’d been threatened for selling alcohol. The BBC says her family believes she was raped, but that a post-mortem was inconclusive.
Such incidents are not uncommon in northern India but have been getting more international attention in recent months, the BBC says.
As a result of high-profile assaults on women, most notably the 2012 gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman on a bus in the capital, New Delhi, have prompted the country’s newly elected prime minister, Narendra Modi, to pledge to make protecting women a priority.