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The father of one of two girls who were gang raped and killed in rural India has turned down thousands in compensation offered to him by the state government — an unusual refusal likely to focus attention on his demands for a federal investigation into the crime.
"I don't expect justice from the state government as state police officers shielded the suspects," said Sohan Lal, a poor farm laborer in Uttar Pradesh who was offered 500,000 rupees ($8,500) by the state government.
Such government payments are common in India when poor families face high-profile calamities.
Lal told reporters Saturday that he would accept no financial assistance until the Central Bureau of Investigation, India's FBI, takes over the case, which has triggered national and international outrage.
India has a long history of tolerance for sexual violence. But the gang rape and killing of the 14- and 15-year-old girls — which was followed by TV footage showing their corpses swaying as they hung from a mango tree — caused outrage across the nation.
Also on Saturday, police arrested a third suspect in the gang rape and slaying of the two teenage cousins found hanging from a tree in northern India, as a top state official said he was recommending a federal investigation.
The three suspects detained in the attack are cousins in their 20s from an extended family, and they face murder and rape charges, crimes punishable by the death penalty, said police officer N. Malik. Two other suspects from the same village are also being sought, he said.
Facing growing criticism for a series of rapes, authorities in Uttar Pradesh, which has a long-standing reputation for lawlessness, also arrested two police officers and fired two others Friday for failing to investigate when the father of one of the teenagers reported the girls missing earlier in the week.