Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the Congress’ Uttar Pradesh in-charge, will visit Prayagraj today, where four members of a family, including a 16-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy, were found murdered at their home last morning.
The family belongs to a Scheduled Caste and a relative has accused a neighbouring family, which belongs to the so-called “upper caste”, of the murders. A FIR by the family also alleges the girl could have been raped before she was murdered.
The bodies of a 50-year-old man, his 45-year-old wife, and their children were found in Prayagraj on Thursday. Police have said they may have been attacked with a sharp weapon, and there were grievous injuries on their bodies. That of the girl was found in a room inside the house, while the other three bodies were found together in the courtyard.
A member of the extended family told the media of a land dispute with the “upper caste” family that had been festering since 2019, and claimed the victims had been assaulted by that family in September. The police, however, were trying to force a compromise, the family member alleged.
“The police were forcing the murder victims to compromise. Sushil Kumar (a police constable) used to come to us and pressure us to compromise. The police used to sit at their (accused) homes. The local inspector also told us to compromise. On September 21 the family was beaten up but an FIR was filed only after a week, and then a counter FIR was filed against the aggrieved family too, though they were the ones who got beaten up,” the family member told the media.
The police have registered an FIR with charges including gang rape and murder against 11 named persons. The Prayagraj police chief told the media some people have been taken into custody for questioning.
“It appears all four were hit on the head with an axe. There are grievous injuries on the bodies of all four people. Initial information suggests that in 2019 and 2021 they had filed cases under the SC/ST Act against some people related to a land dispute. The family had alleged there was no headway in these cases. We will take strict action,” Sarvashrestha Tripathi, the police chief, said in a video statement.
Ms Gandhi Vadra and other Congress leaders are expected at 3 pm, and they will meet with the extended family members of those who were killed.