Hanging from a mango tree, on the edge of their village in Uttar Pradesh, are the bodies of two girls.

It’s May 27, 2014, and the sun is just beginning to rise in India’s north. It’s already blisteringly hot, the air thick and overbearing. A man, a member of the village, is the first to see them. The two girls who went missing last night. 

Lalli is 14, her lifeless body beside her 16-year-old cousin Padma. They were inseparable in life, neighbours who were more like sisters. Their parents have been desperately trying to find them. They will eventually be called to this orchard, and they will see what became of their daughters. 

But when they find them, they do not take their bodies down. Their mistrust of police is so great that they wait for a man they trust to arrive. They think that the police will ensure these girls are forgotten. Their deaths ignored by the justice system. Instead, the women of the family guard their bodies as they are exposed to the heat, factors that would make it increasingly difficult to determine what happened. 

On that day, in May 2014, photographs are taken of a scene that is shared all around the world. 

These girls’ lives mattered. 

And with a spotlight on this small village in India, it’s critical they determine what happened.

CREDITS

Guest: Sonia Faleiro 

Host: Jessie Stephens

Producer: Gia Moylan

Audio Producer: Ian Camilleri

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