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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 January 2007, 12:58 GMT
Police sacked over India killings
Workers and Police retrieve evidence including body parts and clothing from a drain in Noida
Police say their investigation is still continuing
Six Indian policemen have been sacked for alleged incompetence over the murders of 17 young women and children in a suburb of the capital, Delhi.

Three senior officers have also been suspended, officials say.

Public anger against the police has grown since the remains of the victims were found in a sewer in the satellite town of Noida last Friday.

A local businessman and his servant have been arrested on suspicion of multiple abduction, rape and murder.

'Gross negligence'

"Three senior officials were suspended for three months and six policemen were dismissed," said Navin Chandra Bajpai, the top civil servant in Uttar Pradesh state where Noida is located.

Police control crowds outside the house
Police control angry crowds outside the house

Mr Bajpai said those sacked were two inspectors and four sub-inspectors.

"Our probe panel had prima facie found these officials guilty of dereliction of duty and gross negligence in responding to complaints made by parents of missing children," he told Reuters news agency.

The BBC's Anu Anand in Delhi says that the controversy is the latest example of public pressure and intense media scrutiny forcing Indian officials to act.

Our correspondent says that India's legal justice system is riddled with corruption and few criminal cases are ever resolved.

Furious residents have accused police of failing to act over the abductions and murders because many of those reported missing came from impoverished families.

The residents say that as many as 40 children have disappeared in the area over the past two years.

Officials say that those accused of incompetence will be given an opportunity to explain their case, after which a panel will decide on further action.

On Monday, there was rioting around what the press has begun to refer to as the Noida "house of horrors", with police being pelted with stones.

Legal representation

The Uttar Pradesh state government is under mounting pressure over the murders.

Police carry a bag containing remains of children
The remains of the children were found hidden in bags

It has more than doubled compensation for victims' families to 500,000 rupees (more than $11,000) after angry relatives rejected the initial offer.

On Wednesday India's Supreme Court rejected calls for the case be transferred from the police to a team of federal investigators.

The government launched its own investigation, which will report in two weeks.

There has been no word from the two men being held, and correspondents say it is not clear if they have legal representation.




SEE ALSO
India begins child murders probe
03 Jan 07 |  South Asia
Crowd protests at India murders
01 Jan 07 |  South Asia
Police probed in India child case
31 Dec 06 |  South Asia
Police find children's skeletons
29 Dec 06 |  South Asia

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