50-year-old woman was gang-raped and murdered in western Uttar Pradesh’s Budaun district

News Desk: A 50-year-old woman was gang-raped and murdered allegedly by three men including an occultist and his two disciples on Sunday night in western Uttar Pradesh’s Budaun district. Two men have been arrested and a case has been registered against them, police said.

Images from the woman’s village home taken on Monday morning, show her body laid out on a cot, surrounded by family members and other villagers. A yellow sheet covering her lower body appears to be soaked in blood and one of her legs appears broken and bent at the foot.

“They brought her on their own in a vehicle. She was dead when they left her here. The occultist and others dropped her at the door and left quickly,” the woman’s son said in an interview to the local media on Monday afternoon, adding, that the woman used to go to the place of worship regularly. “On Sunday, she had left home around 5 pm and the men brought her back around 11:30 pm,” her son is heard saying in the interview.

Autopsy reports revealed injuries to the woman’s private parts. “The post mortem reports show minor injuries to private parts, there are tears and she has a fracture on one of her legs. There was excessive bleeding and the bleeding led to shock and that led to the patient’s death. Prima facie we found evidence of rape,” Dr Yashpal Singh, Chief Medical Officer, Budaun, said.

A tweet by the Budaun police said a case of gang-rape and murder has been filed and two arrests have been made. Budaun police chief Sankalp Sharma also confirmed two arrests. He also added that disciplinary action was being taken against local policemen for negligence.

“The preliminary inquiry has found that the local police station in-charge was negligent in handling the case. I have ordered his suspension,” Mr Sharma said.

A video of the accused occultist had emerged on Monday, in which he claimed the woman fell into a well near the place of worship and that he and others rescued her. “I brought two men to rescue her. We took her out of the well. She was alive. When we dropped her home, she was alive,” he claimed in the video.

Meanwhile, National Commission for Women (NCW) chief Rekha Sharma said that a team have been sent to the district to take stock of the situation. “We have taken cognisance of the matter. One NCW member is going to the spot to investigate the matter to meet the family and the police and take an exact stock of the situation,” Ms Sharma was quoted as saying.

The incident comes months after a Dalit woman from Hathras died days after she was allegedly assaulted by four so-called upper caste men in her village. Her horrific injuries, topped by the UP police handling of the case — especially the move to cremate her body at 2 am keeping her family locked up — had evoked outrage across the nation.