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Delhi quizzes UP bosses

New Delhi, June 12: A string of unsolved rape cases and fears of terror strikes in Uttar Pradesh prompted the Centre today to assess the law-and-order and security situations in the heartland state.

Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav made a “courtesy call” on Prime Minister Narendra Modi at 7 Race Course Road while senior state officials met Union home minister Rajnath Singh at North Block.

The meetings came in the backdrop of mounting pressure for action against the state administration following a series of rapes and killings, especially the gang rape and murder of two teenaged Dalit cousins in Badaun.

On Monday, an officer in Hamirpur, Uttar Pradesh, allegedly raped a woman at a police station in the presence of his subordinates.

Today, a 19-year-old girl was found hanging from a tree in Moradabad, 24 hours after a 45-year-old woman in Bahraich was found dead in similar circumstances.

Gulab Singh, Moradabad DIG, said the girl’s legs were touching the ground, prompting the police to suspect foul play.

Bahraich additional SP Sunil Kumar Singh said preliminary investigations suggested that the 45-year-old woman was murdered and then hung from a tree.

Sources said Rajnath had tough questions for director-general of police A.L. Banerjee and principal secretary (home) Deepak Singhal at today’s meeting.

Rajnath is also understood to have asked Uttar Pradesh officials to beef up security at the disputed site in Ayodhya, Mathura and the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi following intelligence inputs on possible terror strikes.

“In the past six months, at least one of these sites was ‘surveyed’ by Simi operatives,” an intelligence source told The Telegraph. The banned Students Islamic Movement of India (Simi) is linked to the Indian Mujahideen, according to security agencies.

Security agency sources suspect that Simi had a hand in the May 1 blast at Chennai Central railway station that killed a young woman on the Kaziranga Express.

The CBI today registered an FIR in the Badaun case, which had provoked outrage across the country and outside, prompting Akhilesh to seek an investigation by the central agency on Saturday.

A team of 20 investigators, headed by a deputy inspector-general, will leave New Delhi tomorrow morning for Badaun.