Four members of a Scheduled Caste family were found murdered in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj district, NDTV reported on Friday. Among the deceased is a 16-year-old girl who was allegedly raped by “upper-caste” men from the neighbourhood before being killed, alleged the relatives of the family.

The others who have been murdered are the minor girl’s father, 50, her 45-year-old mother and her 10-year-old brother. The incident took place on Thursday morning in the district’s Gogri village.

The girl’s body was found in one of rooms in the house while the other three bodies were recovered from the courtyard.

The police have registered a first information report and booked 11 people on charges of gangrape and murder. Some of the accused persons have been taken into custody for questioning, said Sarvashrestha Tripathi, the deputy inspector general of police, Prayagraj.

The police said there were grievous injuries inflicted by a sharp weapon on their bodies. “It appears all four were hit on the head with an axe,” Tripathi said in a video statement.

A member of the family said a land dispute between the victims and the alleged attackers has been going on since 2019. The person claimed that the Scheduled Caste family was attacked on September 21 also, adding that FIR and counter FIRs were lodged in the matter.

“The police were forcing the murder victims to compromise,” alleged the family member. “Sushil Kumar [a police constable] used to come to us and pressure us to compromise. The police used to sit at their [the accused] homes. The local inspector also told us to compromise.”

Police chief Tripathi also confirmed the dispute. “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,” he said. “The family alleged there was no headway in these cases. We will take strict action.”

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was scheduled due to visit Prayagraj to meet with the family members of those killed.

The incident comes at a time when the state is gearing up for its Assembly elections early next year.

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