'Girls not raped or murdered in Badaun' CBI creates controversy

The Central Bureau of Investigation presented details on how two teenage girls found hanging from a tree in May had died, saying the girls took their own lives and were not gang-raped and murdered. The CBI studied some 40 scientific reports and questioned 200 people, and they believe the girls killed themselves out of shame and because they were afraid of facing their families. The two lower caste teens thought to have been 14 and 15 were found hanging from a mango tree in Badaun district, Uttar Pradesh. Three men who were arrested in connection with the case and two policemen accused of dereliction of duty were freed on bail in September. CBI investigators say the older girl was in an intimate relationship with the main accused Pappu Yadav, and her younger cousin facilitated the relationship. The girls had set up a meeting with Pappu and went to meet him at night when they were discovered by a neighbour Nazru, who is also the main witness in the case. Rights groups including women's rights activists say many questions remain unanswered, and the girls' families have rejected the findings, accusing the investigating agency of trying to fudge the case and save the accused. The father of one of the girls asked how it is possible that the girls could have committed suicide together from a tall tree, and said the CBI has not explained why they would commit suicide. He stated that if they do not get justice they will kill themselves. Correspondents say the story has become murkier over the months, with officials raising questions over the testimony of the victims' families, accusing them of failing lie-detector tests.