Four women who alleged they were gangraped in a robbery and attack on the Jewar-Bulandshahr highway in Uttar Pradesh have threatened to immolate themselves if justice is not served in their case. On Friday, a preliminary medical report had ruled out rape in their case.

The women have recorded their statement with a magistrate at a Noida court.

However, they and their family members have expressed anger at the police’s preliminary report. One of the women told The Sunday Express, “Why would we want to shame ourselves?” A relative told The Hindu, “The reports take 10-15 days. How can the police and doctors conclude they were not raped? They have gone through it, they know.”

Union minister Mahesh Sharma and a member of the National Commission for Women have also spoken to the women and their family members.

On May 25, a family of eight was travelling to Bulandshahr from Greater Noida when they were ambushed by the gang – comprising six members – around 1.30 am. The family said that the gang first looted their cash and valuables and then raped the women. A male relative trying to rescue the women was shot dead during the attack. Police had deployed two teams to track down the attackers.

In July 2016, a group of highway robbers raped a woman and her 13-year-old daughter in Bulandshahr. The incident had led to widespread protests, and political backlash for the Akhilesh Yadav government, which was in power at the time.

The brutal crime on the highway has revived questions about lawlessness and poor policing in Uttar Pradesh. The state government is already being criticised by the Opposition for its failure to control communal clashes in Saharanpur.