A 50-year-old anganwadi worker was gang-raped and brutally murdered allegedly by a priest and his two aides in Budaun district of Uttar Pradesh, police said on Wednesday.
Two of the accused were arrested on Tuesday, while the priest is on the run, they said, adding that the woman's leg was fractured and there were injuries in her private parts.
Opposition parties attacked the BJP government in the state and termed the incident "horrific" and "shameful", with the Congress comparing it to the Nirbhaya incident of 2012.
"The post-mortem report confirms rape, and there are injuries in her private parts and a fracture in the leg," Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Sankalp Sharma said. He added that the station house officer of Ughaiti police station has been suspended for laxity in the case.
"On Sunday, the 50-year-old woman, who had gone to a temple, was found dead under mysterious circumstances. Family members of the woman have accused the temple mahant (priest) and his aides of raping and murdering her. Based on this, a case was registered against the accused. Two of the accused persons were arrested on Tuesday night, while the mahant is still absconding," he said.
Four teams have been formed to nab the priest, the SSP said.
The victim's son said his mother had gone to offer prayers at the temple on Sunday but she did not return. However, around 11 pm, the temple priest and two of his aides came to his house and handed over his mother's body, he said.
Before family members could ask how she died, the accused left the house saying that she had fallen in a dry well, and her body was pulled out and brought to her home, the son added.
He said the police was informed on Monday.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra hit out at the Yogi Adityanath government, alleging that there was something wrong in the intentions of the Uttar Pradesh administration on the issue of women's security.
Tagging a media report, Gandhi tweeted: "In Hathras, the government administration did not listen to the voice of those pleading. The government saved officials and suppressed the victim's voice."
"In Budaun, the police station officer did not listen to the one pleading and did not even examine the place of the incident. There is something wrong in the UP government's intentions on women's security," she added.
Party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala termed the incident "horrific" and "shameful for humanity".
"How many more Nirbhayas? How much more of this monstrosity (haivaaniyat)? When will the Adityanath government wake up? Where are our awakened journalists," he said in a tweet in a hindi.
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Taking to Twitter, Samajwadi Party said, "Fifty-year-old anganwadi assistant, who had gone to offer prayers at a temple in Budaun, gang-raped and subsequently murdered. Those in power who only make false claims of women security should drown themselves. The guilty should be punished at the earliest, and justice should prevail."
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