18 Feb 2021: UP: Two minor cousins found dead in field; another critical
Two teenaged Dalit girls were found dead in a field in Uttar Pradesh's Unnao last evening, and a third girl found with them is in a critical condition in the hospital, the police confirmed today.
The girls, aged 13, 16, and 17, and said to be cousins, had left home on Wednesday afternoon to bring fodder for their cattle, but never returned.
Details: Family found the girls lying unconscious in own field
After the three girls did not return home by late evening, their family began a search and found them lying unconscious in their own field.
They were then rushed to the hospital where the two younger girls were declared dead by the doctors. The third was later referred to a hospital in Kanpur, the police said.
Probe: Bodies of the dead sent for autopsy
Six police teams have since been formed to investigate the case. A dog squad was also taken to the spot.
Meanwhile, the bodies of the two deceased have been sent for autopsy. Doctors said that symptoms appeared to be that of poisoning, as per police officials.
Superintendent of Police Sureshrao Anand Kulkarni said that a large amount of foam was found at the spot.
Fact: Thorough probe being conducted, says police
"There was some white substance coming out of their mouth and doctors have said there were symptoms of poisoning," Kulkarni told The Indian Express. "We are recording statements of all the people concerned and an in-depth probe is being conducted. Necessary action will be taken."
Claims: Girls were tied up, family claims
Notably, the victims' brother alleged that they were found with their hands and feet tied up. "We found them tied up with clothes like their chunni," the brother reportedly said.
However, Inspector General (Lucknow Range), Laxmi Singh said they are yet to confirm this claim.
"We can't say anything because the bodies were removed before the police reached the spot," Singh told TIE.
Statement: 'Can't accuse anyone, did not have any enmity'
The police added that they did not find any injury marks on the bodies of the girls or signs of struggle at the site where they were found, adding that a lot of questions would be answered once the autopsy report is out.
"We can't accuse anyone as we did not have any enmity with anyone (sic)," a relative of the girls reportedly said.