by Corey Hjalseth, KHQ Local News Contributor - email
New Delhi (CNN) -- The mother of three girls who
were found dead at the bottom of a well in western India after they were
allegedly raped has called for those responsible to be caught and
The bodies of the three
girls -- aged 6, 9 and 11 -- were found in the well in Bhandara district
in Maharashtra state on Saturday, police said.
They were reported missing two days earlier, said A.R. Tiwari, a local police inspector.
The shocking news comes as India is still reeling from the horrific case in New Delhi in which five men and a juvenile are accused of gang raping and murdering a 23-year-old woman in December. The five men are currently on trial.
Preliminary medical reports suggest the girls drowned, and that they had been sexually assaulted, Tiwari said.
Four people are being
questioned in connection with the assault, district police chief Arti
Singh told CNN Thursday. No one has yet been arrested.
A local police officer in charge of the area where the incident took place has been suspended and replaced by Tiwari, she said.
In an interview with CNN
affiliate IBN Thursday, the victims' mother said police didn't respond
quickly enough to the girls' disappearance.
"Had the police searched
for the girls in the neighboring areas, then they would have been
found," said the woman, whose identity was withheld in accordance with
Indian laws protecting the victims and families in sexual assault cases.
But police denied her allegations.
"We acted promptly," Tiwari said. "Wireless messages were issued the same day and police teams fanned out to find the girls."
The mother is nonetheless urging police to catch those responsible quickly.
"I appeal to the government to capture the culprits and hang them in public," she said.
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