The accused in the recent Unnao case had poisoned the three minor Dalit girls found in a field, said police in a press conference held late Friday. They have now been arrested, police said.
The girls -- aged 16, 15, and 14 -- were found in an agriculture field in Babuhara village of Asoha police station area by the villagers on Wednesday night, when they did not return after leaving their house to take fodder for cattle. The residents had rushed the teenagers, who are all related to each other, to a hospital where two of them were declared brought dead. The 16-year-old girl was rushed to a district hospital and later referred to a Kanpur healthcare facility where she is presently undergoing treatment.
IG Range Laxmi Singh said the accused, whom the police identified as Vinay and his minor friend Kishor, belonged to the neighbouring village and were friends with the victims. The girl who survived had been the subject of key accused Vinay's advances, and had spurned him.
To take revenge from her, Vinay and Kishor offered the victims some snacks, and water which was poisoned with pesticides, police said.
The other two girls were not the target but they too drank the water, unaware it was poisoned, said police. "As the water was offered under a friendly gesture, no resistance or struggle occurred and victims had no injury marks on the body," police said. They added that both the accused were from the Dalit community.
The last rites of the two teenage girls who died were conducted earlier in the day amid tight security arrangements, officials said.