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India Police fired over hanged girls
Two police officers in India have been sacked for refusing to help search for two missing girls who were later found gang-raped and hanged, officials say.
They were also charged with criminal conspiracy, police said, adding that three people had been arrested so far.
The government has pledged to set up a fast-track court to prosecute the crime, which took place earlier this week in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
Alleged police inaction sparked outrage in the teenagers' village.
The father of one victim says he was ridiculed by police when he sought help in finding his missing daughter. He said that when policemen found out he was from a lower caste, they "refused to look for my girl".
The girls, two cousins aged 14 and 16, went missing in Badaun district on Tuesday night. They had apparently gone out to relieve themselves as they had no toilet at home.
Their bodies were discovered the following day. A post-mortem examination confirmed multiple sexual assaults and death due to hanging.
Campaigners have highlighted the lack of sanitation in rural areas as being a risk to women's security as well as their health, as they are often attacked when having to go out to use the toilet, particularly at night.
Scrutiny of sexual violence in India has grown since the 2012 gang rape and murder of a student on a Delhi bus.
The government tightened laws on sexual violence last year after widespread protests following the attack.
Fast-track courts were brought to the fore to deal with rape and the death penalty was also brought in for the most extreme cases.
Some women's groups argue that the low conviction rate for rape should be challenged with more effective policing rather than stiffer sentences.
Authorities said on Friday that they were still looking for two other suspects.
Senior police official Atul Saxena earlier announced there would be a "thorough investigation" into the allegations of caste discrimination by police.
Divisions between India's castes run deep, and violence is often used by upper castes to instil fear in lower castes. Although both the victim and the accused belonged to a caste grouping known as "Other Backward Classes", the victims were lower in that hierarchy.
The incident has received top coverage on India's main TV channels such as NDTV, Times Now and CNN-IBN.
"Uttar Pradesh Rape shockers", reads a ticker on NDTV, which accuses the local police of being "complicit" with the attackers and quotes relatives of the two girls saying they have "no faith" they'll receive justice.
"Lawless in Uttar Pradesh" reads a top headline on CNN-IBN, which has started its own campaign using the hashtag #StopThisShame.
"UP: 3 Rapes in 48Hrs" is the lead on the Times Now channel, which reports the growing number of rape incidents in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
"Outrage" is the word used on the front pages of several leading English-language newspapers, including The Hindu and The Indian Express.
In an editorial, The Times of India lays the blame on the government of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Singh, saying the hangings "exposes the state's slide into medieval lawlessness".
But this is not the first time that rape cases have shocked India
23 January 2014: Thirteen men held in West Bengal in connection with the gang rape of a woman, allegedly on orders of village elders who objected to her relationship with a man
4 April 2014: A court sentences three men to hang for raping a 23-year-old photojournalist in Mumbai last year
15 January 2014: A Danish woman is allegedly gang raped after losing her way near her hotel in Delhi
17 September 2013 : Five youths held in Assam for allegedly gang-raping a 10-year-old gir
l4 June 2013: A 30-year-old American woman gang-raped in Himachal Pradesh
30 April 2013: A five-year-old girl dies two weeks after being raped in Madhya Pradesh
16 December 2012: Student gang raped on Delhi bus, sparking nationwide protests and outrage
The question has to be asked when will the tide turn?
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